China

Wanda Denies Rumours That Chinese Billionaire Wang Jianlin Was Detained At Tianjin Airport, Prevented From Leaving China

800px-wang_jianlin_-_annual_meeting_of_the_new_champions_dalian_2009

Wang Jianlin in 2009 (image by World Economic Forum, via Wikimedia Commons)

Wanda Group has denied rumours that Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, was detained by police at Tianjin Airport for several hours as he was about to leave the country on a private airplane.

According to Chinese-language reports, on August 25 Wang Jianlin intended to travel with his family to the United Kingdom. However, he was stopped by police and prevented from boarding the plane. Wang was released hours later, but he was informed that he can no longer leave China.

A spokesperson for Wanda Group has denied the unverified reports of Wang Jianlin’s detention, referring to them as “rumours”.

Wang Jianlin is the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, one of China’s largest real estate and entertainment conglomerates. His net worth is estimated at $US30 billion. Wang built his business empire through political connections and heavy borrowing from state-owned banks, becoming one of China’s richest men.

But in recent months Wanda Group has faced growing financial difficulties. Debt problems have caused the company to sell off assets such as theme parks and hotels. Wanda also abandoned major projects, including Wang’s ambitious plan to invest billions of dollars in Hollywood studios.

As the Chinese government seeks to curb overseas investment, Wanda has been forced to revise its business model, which relied heavily on expansion abroad. In July of this year Wang Jianlin told Chinese website Caixin that Wanda will “actively respond to the state’s call and … put its main investments within China.”

In January, Chinese tycoon Xiao Jianhua was abducted from the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong by unidentified men. He is believed to have been taken to mainland China to help the authorities conduct investigations into the financial industry.

Ever since Xiao’s disappearance, a number of prominent Chinese business people have been detained by the authorities. Dalian Wanda has links to Xiao’s company, Tomorrow Holdings.


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