In perhaps the clearest sign yet of Dalian Wanda's chastened ambitions, group chairman Wang Jianlin has pledged to focus on investing locally in response to the Chinese government's call for economic caution and its concerns over capital flight.Wang said that Wanda, which has aggressively pursued offshore deals and acquisitions, “has decided to keep its main investment within China.”“The big picture is the state policy and macroeconomic environment. Companies have to follow the trend of the national economic development,” Wang told...
A long-serving army officer, Wang dragged a formerly regional, state-owned property company into the private sector and in the space of ten years turned it into China’s foremost builder of hotels and shopping malls — and with them cinemas.
He and Dalian Wanda shot to international attention in 2012 when the group paid $2.6 billion for the AMC Cinemas chain in North America. That shock move embodied Wanda’s change of direction: from China-focused property heavyweight to internationally-minded leisure and entertainment behemoth with a taste for acquisitions like its $3.5 billion purchase of Legendary Entertainment. Wang even talked of eventually purchasing a Hollywood studio, and got a lot of attention in 2016 with his U.S. visit.
But Chinese authorities tightened control over foreign investment mid-2017 amid mounting concern over capital flight, and warned against excessive borrowing. Wanda has apparently become a prime target for regulators intent on showing that the government is serious about reining in big, splashy overseas deals.
Worth upwards of $25 billion personally, Wang remains a strict disciplinarian of his staff. But often waxes philosophical, and has published a book about his management style. Part of that is a willingness to overpay in order to make quick strategic moves. So too is the occasional use of two private planes. His son Wang Sicong recently said he does not wish to take over his father’s empire.