By Jane Nambi
The richest man in China is Wang Jianlin.
Mr. Jianlin is the chairman of closely held conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which became the world’s largest movie theater chain after acquiring AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. last year for $2.6 billion. He has a net worth of $14.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index making him $3.2 billion richer than Zong Qinghou, founder of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, China’s No. 3 beverage maker and also 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 Kenny Wu, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Ji-Asia Research Ltd. “Wang’s move to diversify from Chinese real estate seems rewarding.”
Wang’s real estate empire has 148 million square feet under management. The 58-year-old billionaire also plans to increase his property holdings by 68 percent by 2014. He also plans to accelerate acquisitions overseas, including Dalian Wanda’s purchase of Sunseeker International Ltd., a U.K.-based maker of yachts used in the James Bond movies , for $1.6 billion in June. He said he plans to spend more than $1 billion to build a luxury residential complex along the banks of London’s Thames river.
Mr. Jianlin is known to sing Tibetan and Mongolian folk songs at Wanda annual meetings, is the oldest of five brothers born to a military family in western China’s Sichuan province, near the border with Tibet. His father fought for Mao Zedong’s Red Army during the Long March campaign in the1930s, and later against the Japanese in World War II.