Wang Jianlin

Wang Jianlin’s Wanda beefs up investment into internet-related businesses

China’s richest man has set up a separate internet division known as Wanda Internet Technology Group, underscoring his positive outlook on the sector

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 October, 2016, 6:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 October, 2016, 6:23pm

Chinese property-to-entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has made a deepening foray into internet-related businesses as it goes further in transformation and expanding its asset-light approach.

Controlled by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, Wanda announced Thursday it has newly set up an internet technology unit, making it one of the group’s core businesses.

The unit was spun off from Wanda Financial Group and “will focus on online to offline integration, and create a fresh business model for the Internet of Things,” Wanda said in a press release, adding that underlying companies including online payment, big data providers and online credit firms will be moved to the internet group.

As the group accelerates its transformation to services, commerce, culture, internet and finance will become pillars of the group, Wang said.

Qu Dejun, the former executive president of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, is appointed as the chief executive of the newly established Wanda Internet Technology Group.

Wanda also announced it has hired Dong Jianyue, former chairman of China Guangfa Bank, to be Wanda Financial’s chairman and chief executive.

Earlier this year, Wang cut Wanda’s property sales target, as the market had cooled, and said that he was seeking to go asset-light.

He delisted its property arm Wanda Commercial from the Hong Kong stock exchange last month.

Wanda’s transformation has largely relied on acquisitions and the buying spree is set to continue.

It purchased a major stake in China’s fourth largest online payment platform 99Bill, also known as Kuai Qian, for US$315 million in late 2014.

In January, Wang paid US$3.5 billion to buy a controlling stake in US film studio Legendary Entertainment, creator of the Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic World, making Wanda the first Chinese company to own a major Hollywood studio.

Wang in August told Reuters he expected to seal US$2 billion worth of film industry acquisitions in the US this year.

“If the target company fits our appetite, there is no upper limit for budgeting,” he said.