Wanda Group: The Chinese Conglomerate You've Never Heard Of


Wanda Group is one of the world's largest conglomerates. It's also known as the Dalian Wanda Group and is headed by CEO Wang Jianlin, the wealthiest individual in China with a net worth of $30 billion. The Wanda Group's assets are worth approximately $120 billion and its annual revenues number around $38 billion, according to the company. The company's ambition to become a worldwide-recognized brand name is fueled by an aggressive strategy of expansion, acquisitions and partnerships.

Recently, rumors that Jianlin was detained while trying to leave China have swarmed and caused the share price of its hotel development business to slide 11%, before stabilizing. The company, however, is denying the reports, and says the claim was ill-intended, according to a statement.

Wanda Group started as a residential real estate company in 1988, but now its three major divisions are commercial real estate, entertainment and finance. In 2015, it purchased an office building for more than $300 million in Sydney, Australia, as part of its plan to aggressively expand outside the Chinese mainland. Wanda Group's acquisitions include its 2013 purchase of Sunseeker International, a U.K.-based luxury yacht manufacturer.

Commercial Properties

Wanda Commercial Properties is the largest commercial property company in the world, owning more than 80 hotels and 187 Wanda Plazas, with plans to open 50 more in 2017. Wanda Plazas is a unique concept the company developed to build large shopping areas combined with surrounding office spaces, apartments and hotels. Wanda Hotels and Resorts Company Ltd. operates four hotel brands. Wanda Group also owns and operates more than 50 department stores. The company has numerous ongoing international projects, such as the Wanda Tower in Chicago, a billion-dollar office space complex, as well as a major luxury hotel and apartment complex in London.

The initial public offering (IPO) of the Wanda Group's property division, which occurred on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in late 2014, represents the most money a publicly traded real estate company has ever raised in an IPO, at an estimated $3.5 to $4 billion.

Cultural, Tourism and Entertainment Division

The cultural and entertainment division of the company is rapidly becoming a premier business for the Wanda Group, and has been the company's most aggressive division in terms of acquisitions. It includes the largest film and tourism companies in China, as well as the largest sports company in the world. It acquired AMC Theatres in 2012, through which it also acquired a partial interest in Open Road Films. The company further acquired Hoyt Cinemas, a major theater chain in Australia, as well as the Ironman triathlon race series. In 2016, this segment had a revenue of $9.7 billion, according to the company.

Finance Division

Wanda Group's financial division includes Wanda Investment Company, which invests in private equity, offers asset management services and handles the merger and acquisition (M&A) activities of Wanda Group's companies. Wanda Group also owns Aeon Life Insurance Company, which experienced around 90% annual premium growth and more than 60% annual asset growth from 2010 through 2015.

The company's Internet finance segment offers financial services in data application software, credit service, payment processing and transfers, and online lending. The company is also engaged in a strategic joint venture with media and Internet giant Tencent Holdings to develop an e-commerce platform.

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