China’s Wanda Hits Back at Allegations of Financial Difficulty

China’s Dalian Wanda group has hit back at allegations that it is in financial difficulty, including suggestions that its cash flow has been cut off.

The allegations were published recently on Chinese blog Baoyouqu, in a post headlined “Wang Jianlin Meets His Waterloo.” Wang is Dalian Wanda’s chairman. The company said it had reported Baoyouqu to the police for slander.

Wanda rebutted eight points made by the blog. Among them were suggestions that more than half of Wanda’s assets have been eroded, and that Wanda’s net assets are in fact loans from government-owned banks. Baoyouqu said that Wanda’s cash flow “has been cut off.”

The property-to-entertainment giant insisted that it has a strong asset base and has opened more than 50 Wanda Plaza shopping malls so far this year. It said that net assets exceeded $45.5 billion (RMB300 billion) in 2016, and will increase in 2017. And it said that revenues and cash flow will both exceed $30.3 billion (RMB200 million) in 2017. Those figures are unaudited; Wanda normally reports annual financial data in January.

Wanda also pushed back against the suggestion that a property company has no right to be in the business of exporting Chinese culture. Since acquiring U.S. cinema chain AMC in 2012, “Wanda has now screened over 160 Chinese films in overseas cinemas without government subsidies, accounting for 80% of the Chinese film industry’s international box office,” the company said.

Wanda has also been building a massive studio complex in the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao. Although it is now selling a majority stake in Qingdao Studios to property developer Sunac China in order to reduce its borrowings, Wanda is still in charge of the construction project. It said that it has now opened a new backlot with street scenes resembling European locations and 1930s Shanghai.

“Designed under the theme of cinema for nostalgia, the location meets the demands for shooting certain scenes in films and provides modern commercial services and offices. The location has revived the scenes of the neighborhoods from the past through pebbled walkways, detailed designs and decorative green plants,” it said on its website.

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