SOCIETY

'Buxomgate': Western schooling to blame for my son's gaffe, says tycoon Wang Jianlin

Tycoon takes to TV to defend offspring who caused uproar by saying he preferred 'buxom' girlfriends; his overseas schooling is to blame

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 February, 2015, 2:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2015, 3:13pm

Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin blames Western education for his son's controversial remark that potential girlfriends needed to be "buxom".

Wang, one of the richest men in China, used an interview on state television on Tuesday evening to publicly defend his son, whose remark caused a furore on social media and led to condemnation by a state news agency. He also said he preferred to stay away from politics and said businessmen should "refrain from bribes".

Wang said his son, Wang Sicong , had spent years studying overseas and had got into the habit of speaking whatever was on his mind.

The younger Wang was lambasted after making the remark on Valentine's Day, with the state-run news agency Xinhua publishing a 1,287-word commentary condemning his remarks.

His father, who runs a property and cinema empire, said he was always ready to "take a hint" from others and not "speak carelessly", but his son was more direct and had not learnt Chinese subtlety.

"He is smart. He went overseas to study at grade one and he has a Western-style of thinking," said Wang.

"Maybe after spending five or eight years in China, he will truly become Chinese."

Wang Sicong, a board member of his father's Wanda Group and the chairman of the private investment firm Prometheus Capital, is well-known for his outspoken comments on social media.

He made his latest eyebrow-raising remark after helping to raise more than 500,000 yuan (HK$630,000) for charity by auctioning the chance for a member of the public to watch a film with him.

The senior Wang said he wanted his son to succeed in his own right in business, but would give him only two opportunities. "The third time he fails, he comes to work at Wanda," he said.

The tycoon's comments appeared to question Western customs and values, echoing remarks by government officials in recent months.

Education Minister Yuan Guiren said last month that universities must tightly control the use of text books from overseas that spread "Western values".

Wang Jianlin is the chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, China's largest real estate developer, and the world's largest operator of cinemas. According to the Hurun Report, in 2014 he was the 26th richest person in the world with a fortune of US$25 billion.

In his interview on state television, Wang also spoke more generally about the need to be close to the government as the country's economy was still under the sway of officials, particularly the property industry, in which permits for development were needed.

"We can't do business in China without the Chinese government … So we should be close to the government, respect the government and be good at communicating with the government with positive attitude," he said.

"At the same time we should refrain from bribes.

"In short, I say: Be close to the government, but stay away from politics."

Wang said he was going to retire in 2020, aged 66, and spend a year writing his autobiography.