Wanda Looks West With AMC Play

The New York Times profiles Chinese real estate magnate Wang Jianlin, whose Wanda Group has entered into an agreement to take over U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment: Mr. Wang, 57, is regarded as one of the most successful Chinese real estate tycoons. His $17 billion empire includes huge commercial property developments, five-star hotels, tourist resorts, a film and television production company and Asia’s largest cinema network. Now, by paying $2.6 billion to acquire AMC, the Wanda Group is extending its reach globally. The deal, announced Sunday, is still subject to the approval of United States regulators, though there are no hints it will be blocked. The purchase signifies a new era for Mr. Wang and in China’s development. Companies here are moving away from low-cost manufacturing and going abroad in search of natural resources and global consumer brands, part of an effort to upgrade the nation’s economy. … Wanda is a private company in a nation dominated by state-owned enterprises. But the AMC deal is closely aligned with the Chinese government’s priorities, which include encouraging Chinese companies to “go global,” pushing an overhaul of Chinese media and entertainment properties and placing greater emphasis on consumer spending. Policy makers in Beijing also want to bolster China’s “soft power” capabilities to extend its cultural influence internationally, and the film industry is considered one of the most promising avenues for doing so. The article also notes that Wang got his start in Dalian, the coastal city where Bo Xilai kickstarted his political career, though Wang dismissed any notion that his ties to Bo would threaten Wanda. AMC’s chief executive hailed the proposed deal, which both sides claim will create the world’s largest cinema operator, as a “unique combination.” For the Los Angeles Times, Richard Verrier and David Pierson write that Wanda’s bid for ...
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