Wang Jianlin meets Hong Kong’s ex-chief executive Tung, quashing talk he’s barred from travelling
Photos released by Wanda Group an apparent attempt to prove its chairman is not banned from leaving Chinese mainland
Wang Jianlin, the property-to-entertainment founder of Dalian Wanda Group, travelled to Hong Kong last week to meet the city’s former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, making a journey that quashed rumours circulating on China’s social media that the magnate had been barred from leaving the mainland.
Wang was photographed withTung, currently a vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), according to photos displayed on Wanda’s website on Monday. The meeting took place in Hong Kong the previous Friday, Wanda said, without disclosing the details of the meeting.
Wang is one of 49 entrepreneurs and companies that act as advisers on Tung’s China-United States Exchange Foundation, founded in 2008. He was accompanied at the meeting by Sun Xishuang, chairman of Dalian Yifang Group, a Beijing-based mall developer and a long time ally of Wang.
The meeting was confirmed by Tung’s public relations team, which added in a statement that the former chief executive “meets with many different visitors every day.”
Wang’s Wanda Group is among several of China’s largest overseas asset buyers to be under close government scrutiny for their exposure to loans. In July, the magnate -- Asia’s wealthiest businessman of 2016 according to Forbes -- sold the bulk of his hotels and theme park assets for US$9.5 billion, in the country’s largest real estate transaction, to raise funds to pare debt.
He’d also had to swat away online rumours that he’d been detained by police and was unable to leave China on a private jet. In an August 28 statement, Wanda dismissed the internet rumours as “groundless.”
Last week, Wanda took further action on what it called the “rumormongers”, saying it had begun legal action in China and is considering legal action through US courts over what it says are false reports and “malicious rumours”.
The defendants in the legal action in China include at least 10 social media accounts on WeChat and Weibo. Wanda has asked for a public apology and payment of 5 million yuan (US$769,200) in compensation from each party. It said it is also considering filing a lawsuit in US courts against Boxun, an overseas website which covers political news on China, seeking an apology and compensation of US$2 million.