Wang Jianlin

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Wang Jianlin born 24 October, 1954 is a Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder of the conglomerate company Dalian Wanda Group, China’s largest real estate development company, as well as the world’s largest movie theater operator. He owns 20% of the Spanish football club Atlético Madrid. In 2016, Wang agreed on a deal with FIFA to launch the China Cup, in which national football teams compete in Asia each year.During the course of his career, Wang was the economic consultant of Yunnan province, as well as a construction consultant of the Guiyang government, and was named honorable citizen of Changchun city, and “outstanding contributor” to the construction of Dalian city.

As of June 2019, Wang is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $21.7 billion, making him one of the richest men in China and Asia.

Wang Jianlin was born on October 24, 1954, in Cangxi County, Guangyuan, Sichuan, China. His father had fought for the ‘People’s Liberation Army’ during the notorious ‘Long March’ in the mid-30s. Raised in an army family, Wang was accustomed to strict discipline from an early age. His family wanted him to join the army. At the age of 15, Wang followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the ‘People’s Liberation Army’ as a border guard. His work ethics had him quickly promoted to the post of regiment commander. He went on to serve the army for 17 years. In 1976, he joined the ‘Communist Party of China’ and served as the deputy to the 17th ‘National Congress.’His service and loyalty toward the communist party continued throughout his entire life and further helped him pursue his business goals.

After sixteen years in the People’s Liberation Army, Wang started working as the Office Administrator for the Xigang District in the city of Dalian. In 1989, he became the General Manager of Xigang Residential Development. He was Head of Factory in a Jiangyin-based factory. In 1992, he started working as the Chairman for the Dalian Wanda Group. He has also been serving as Assistant to the Regional Manager, Assistant Regional Manager and Director in Jiangsu Jiangnan Water Co.

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Wang Jianlin had tough time in the year 1993, when government stopped providing loans to the real estate firms, asking to pay back all the pending loans rolled out so far. Jianlin faced a lot of pressure at this moment and was even hospitalized for around one week. But he had learned something new with the experience that led him to establish a Global Empire.

Wang Jianlin started Dalian Wanda Group with mere $130,000. The company now has grown into a huge enterprise. His start up is currently a conglomerate of five different areas – Luxury hotels, a Chinese departmental store chain, commercial property, cultural industry and tourism. His company owns 21.57 million square metres of investment property, 168 Wanda Shopping Plazas, 82 luxury hotels, 213 cinemas, 99 department stores, and 54 karaoke centres around China. The company became the world’s largest theatre owner in 2012 when it acquired AMC Theatres. He bought out U.S.-based AMC Entertainment for US$2.6 billion.

He listed it on the New York Stock Exchange in December. He flew in celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Beckinsale, and John Travolta to help launch an US$8 billion mini-Hollywood in the coastal city of Qingdao in January 2014.Wanda Group acquired the landmark Edificio España building in Madrid, Spain, in March 2014 from Grupo Santander for “about a third less than the €389 million that Banco Santander paid in 2005, at the height of Spain’s construction boom”. Previously, Dalian Wanda Group had taken on billion-dollar hotel development projects in London and New York, as well as property projects in India.

In January 2014, he announced plans to build the world’s largest studio pavilion at Oriental Movie Metropolis which include a 10,000 square meter studio and an underwater stage. Wang Jianlin says that “Great companies are born, not developed, because each company has its own DNA.” In 2014, he acquired land at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California to build the American headquarters of his entertainment company.

In January 2015 it was reported that he was buying a 20% stake in the Spanish football club Atletico Madrid for €45m.

In November 2016 Wang’s Dalian Wanda Group announced plans to acquire Dick Clark Productions for about US$1 billion, giving it the broadcasting rights to the Golden Globe Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the New Year countdown celebrations in New York. Dalian Wanda already owns Legendary Entertainment, co-producer of films such as Jurassic World, and U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings. The Economist called him “a man of Napoleonic ambition”, and citing his military background in the PLA, where he rose from border guard to regimental commander. He enforces “iron discipline” in the workplace, where employees are fined when they violate the company’s conservative dress code.

Despite his age, he has a “trim figure”.Wang Jianlin has no intentions of entering politics, but he maintains good relations with politicians. Wang acts as a delegate to the Chinese National People’s Congress.  While Wang maintains a close relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, his personal motto is “stay close to the government and distant from politics.” He believes entrepreneurs should be “close” to the government and “clear” from the government as well. “If the government never talk to entrepreneurs, they’ll never know what entrepreneurs want to invest, develop or solve.”

He was twice named CCTV’s “Economic Person of the Year”.  He serves as the Vice-Chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and has been a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference since 2008.

In 2011, he donated US$197 million to charitable causes, such as underwriting the restoration of an ancient temple in Nanjing. In 2014-2015 he donated US$200,000 for the restoration of the Electric Fountain in Beverly Hills, California.

He currently serves as vice chair of the China Charity Confederation; vice chair of the China Folk Chamber of Commerce; vice chair of the China Enterprise Confederation and the China Enterprise Directors Association; vice chair of the China General Chamber of Commerce; vice-chair of the Global Advisory Council of Harvard University. According to Forbes, in 2016 he was the richest person in Asia with US$28.7 billion. A year later, Forbes ranked him 18th in its 2017 World’s Billionaires list, making him the richest man in China with a net worth of US$31.3 billion.

However, on May 14, Jack Ma overtook Wang Jianlin as the richest man in China, thanks to Ma’s Alibaba Group’s increases in stock prices.He is married to Lin Ning and has a son, Wang Sicong who received his education at Winchester College and University College London in the UK. Wang Sicong is currently a board member of the Wanda Group and a venture capitalist in China through his Beijing-based private equity fund, Prometheus Capital.

In December 2015 Wang Jianlin bought 15a Kensington Palace Gardens, London, for GB£80 million. The house was previously lived in by the Ukrainian billionaire, Leonard Blavatnik, who rented it during lengthy works on the house he owns opposite.

In July 2016 Wang Jianlin’s book The Wanda Way: The managerial philosophy and values of one of China’s largest companies was published globally by LID Publishing. The book includes his renowned 2013 ChinaCentral Television Voice interview, his speech and question-and-answer session to the Harvard Business School, and Wang Jianlin’s business philosophy on Wanda’s real estate, resort, and movie units. In 2016, Wang picked a fight with Disney by declaring that he wants to make sure the Magic Kingdom doesn’t make any money in China.

Over the years, Wang has received many awards in the areas of business and philanthropy. In 2013, ‘Forbes Asia,’ named him the ‘Businessman of the Year,’ and in 2015, he topped a list of Chinese philanthropists compiled by ‘Forbes China.’ In addition, he has been named ‘The Best CEO in Asia’ by the ‘Asia Corporate Governance Magazine’ in 2015. The very next year, he aced the list of the ‘Top 10 China Power Players,’ released by ‘Hollywood Reporter.’