Aug 20, 2013

    China's richest: Property mogul

    MR WANG Jianlin, owner of China's biggest commercial land developer, is the nation's wealthiest person, based on regulatory filings that show his non-real-estate businesses to be more valuable than previously calculated.

    The chairman of closely held conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has a net worth of US$14.2 billion (S$18 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    He is US$3.2 billion richer than Mr Zong Qinghou, 67, founder of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, China's No. 3 beverage-maker. Mr Zong is the country's second-wealthiest person.

    "Wanda leads Chinese enterprises in expanding its business globally and catering to consumers' demand at home with some high-profile acquisitions," said Mr Kenny Wu, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Ji-Asia Research. "Mr Wang's move to diversify from Chinese real estate seems rewarding."

    Mr Wang, 58, whose real-estate empire has 148 million sq ft under management, plans to increase his property holdings by 68 per cent by next year.

    He is accelerating acquisitions overseas, which included Dalian Wanda's purchase of Sunseeker International, a Britain-based maker of yachts used in the James Bond movies, for US$1.6 billion in June.

    He said he plans to spend more than US$1 billion to build a luxury residential complex along the banks of London's Thames river.

    Mr Wang's family owns 100 per cent of Dalian Wanda directly and through holding company Dalian Hexing Investment, documents showed.

    He owns 98 per cent of Dalian Hexing, and his son, Mr Wang Sicong, owns 2 per cent. The billionaire owns 61.6 per cent of his flagship, Dalian Wanda Commercial Property, directly and through Dalian Wanda Group, according to the filings.

    Dalian Wanda had revenue of US$26 billion in the 12 months ending June 30. Commercial property contributed 76 per cent of Wanda's revenue in the first half of this year, compared with 88 per cent a year earlier and 91 per cent in 2011, according to figures on the company's website.

    Mr Wang's second-largest asset is his 100 per cent stake in the Wanda Department Store chain.

    The AMC movie chain and his China theatres comprise the bulk of Wanda's entertainment subsidiary, which was founded last year and invests in films, live performances, theatres and karaoke bars.

    Mr Wang also has 40 five-star hotels. He plans to double that number by 2015.