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Meet China's richest man

Wang Jianlin is worth about €37.5 billion. And he ain’t shy about flaunting it…

WANG JIANLIN, A former People’s Liberation Army soldier who is now a real estate mogul and the world’s largest cinema chain operator, is the richest person in China.

With a fortune of $40.7 billion (€37.5 billion), he’s caught in a riches race with Hong Kong business magnate Li-Ka Shing to become the wealthiest man in Asia.

From the construction of luxury hotel properties to the purchase of a world-famous football club to his grand plans for the future of entertainment, scroll through to get up to speed on Jianlin’s global empire.

From 1970 to 1986 Wang served in the Chinese Army. He credits this time for his unwavering perseverance: “Without those years of experience, I probably wouldn’t have had so much anti-stress capability and so firm a determination”

 

soldiers Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers in Beijing

Wang borrowed $80,000 to get his company Dalian Wanda Group off the ground. He’s been chairman of Wanda Group, now China’s largest real estate developer, since 1988.

 

wang Wang Jianlin

Wanda Hotels and Resorts Co Ltd has opened 71 five star and luxury five star hotels across China to date. Wang has billion dollar investments in properties in Sydney, London, Chicago and Los Angeles. He’s on his way to becoming the world’s biggest owner of five-star hotels

 

resort Wanda Group purchased the Jewel project on Australia's Gold Coast last August. The luxury residence and resort complex is expected to open in 2018

Wanda Group is currently building One Nine Elms, a luxury riverside hotel and apartment building in London that will rise 60 stories and boast views of the London Eye and Westminster Abbey

 

wanda An artist's rendering of the future site of One Nine Elms

Another division of Wanda Group, The Wanda Culture Industry Group, is China’s largest cultural enterprise with an annual revenue of $5.5 billion. It operates in ten arenas including theme parks, performing arts, and film technology entertainment

 

leo Actor Leonardo DiCaprio waves to fans at the opening of Wanda Group's Oriental Movie Metropolis in September 2013

Wanda Plaza, Wang’s trademark property, has over 100 locations in all of China’s major cities, making it the country’s largest department store chain

 

wanda3 Patrons celebrate the opening of Yingkou Wanda Plaza June 25, 2015

Not only does Wanda Group own 150 movie theaters in China, but it owns another 380 locations across the US, Canada, Japan, and other countries. Wang bought the US’s struggling AMC Entertainment franchise for $2.6 billion in 2012

 

amc

“Superstar,” China’s largest “wholesome” karaoke chain is operated by Wanda Group. It currently has 90 locations and expects to open another 40 by the end of the year

 

karaoke A karaoke bar in Wuhan, China

Earlier this year, Wang bought a 20% stake (at $52 million) in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid

 

atleti Wang poses with the team's managing director and president after a signing ceremony in Beijing

Wang has only one son: 27-year-old Wang Sicong, who’s been nicknamed “The National Husband” by Chinese media. He’s made a few outspoken remarks that his father later defended, blaming his son’s “western education.” Sicong is a board member of Wanda Group and chairman of the private investment firm Prometheus Capital

 

wang2 Wang allows his son a 2% stake in Wanda Group

However, many people in China have criticized Wang Sicong for being too obsessed with money, sex, and violence. He certainly flaunts his wealth: Wang Sicong recently posted a photo of his dog wearing two gold Apple Watches (each valued at $10,000)

 

dog

Wang purchased Sunseeker Yachts International in 2013 for $503 million. The UK-based luxury yacht maker’s boats are exclusively featured in the James Bond film series

 

sunseeker Sunseeker's 155 Yacht

Wang owns two Gulfstream 550 private jets (each powered by two Rolls Royce engines) that transport him to and from Wanda Group headquarters in Beijing, China

 

gulfst G550 jet by Gulfstream aircraft displayed at the Singapore Airshow in February 2014 in Singapore

In recent years, the billionaire has become a passionate art collector. He purchased Picasso’s ‘Claude and Paloma’ for $28 million in 2013. In May, he won a $20.4 million bid for a Claude Monet painting

 

art Wang waits in a meeting room at the launch of Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis in September 2013

“Many people come knock at my door, but Wanda is only interested in the big players, and we want control,” Wang told Bloomberg News. He’s currently in talks to buy a large stake in independent film studios Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

 

knock Wang celebrates the debut of Dalian Wanda Group at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December 2014

- Tanza Loudenback

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