Tycoon's military background

HONOURABLY DISCHARGED: Mr Wang Jianlin joined the People's Liberation Army as a teenager and served for 16 years.


    Aug 20, 2013

    Tycoon's military background

    BILLIONAIRE Wang Jianlin, 58 - known to sing Tibetan and Mongolian folk songs at Dalian Wanda's annual meetings - is the oldest of five brothers born to a military family in Sichuan, near the border with Tibet.

    His father fought for Mao Zedong's Red Army during the Long March campaign in the 1930s, and later in World War II.

    Mr Wang joined the People's Liberation Army as a teenager and served for 16 years before he was honourably discharged as an officer.

    He later took a job at an indebted residential developer affiliated with the northern port city of Dalian, changed the company's name to Dalian Wanda and became the general manager in 1992.

    Over the next two decades, he built 72 shopping centres, called Wanda plazas, anchored by his company's department stores, office buildings and cinemas.

    The timing was fortuitous. China's urban population has grown at a 3.6 per cent compounded annual rate since 2002, or 21 million people per year. The mass migration accelerated personal income and consumer demand.

    "Chinese consumption, particularly high-end consumption, is booming," Mr Wang told reporters in Beijing in June. He plans to have 110 plazas by next year.