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China's richest man 'doubled fortune in 12 months': Forbes

AFP
16 hours ago

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, speaks at a ceremony in Beijing on


February 10, 2015
.
View photo
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, speaks at a ceremony in Beijing on
February 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Greg Baker)
Beijing (AFP) - China's richest man saw his fortune balloon by nearly $17
billion -- a sum larger than the GDP of Iceland -- in the past year, business
magazine Forbes said Monday.
Wang Jianlin, founder of real estate and entertainment conglomerate Wanda
Group, saw his wealth rocket from $13.2 billion to $30 billion in the
publisher's 2015 China Rich List.
The windfall, which came despite sluggish growth in the world's secondlargest economy, was driven by the flotations of two of his company's
subsidiaries -- even though he lost $3.6 billion in a single day during China's
market turmoil this summer.
"Its good to have money," Wang said in a brief appearance at the
announcement of the ranking.
At his average rate of accumulation last year he would have become more
than $200,000 wealthier during his seven minutes on the stage.
The son of a Red Army captain, Wang was himself a soldier before he founded
Wanda in the 1980s, building it up with military discipline. Its website says it
is Asia's largest private property owner.
Now 61, he is the 15th richest man on the planet according to Forbes' realtime billionaires ranking.
"To unabashedly go out and make money, then fairly and equitably distribute
that wealth - this is what rich people should do," Wang said.
Wang has sought to play down overseas media speculation on the link
between his success and government ties, which in China can be crucial to
seal land deals with local authorities.
He said Monday that market forces and creative abilities were crucial to
building major businesses in China, rather than personal connections.

"If you've made money, it's definitely because you have skills; I believe that
the majority of people who've made money did so through normal channels,"
he said. "The majority of people with money, especially extraordinarily rich
people, are good people."
- 'New opportunities' Wang is known outside China for a string of overseas acquisitions including
the organiser of Ironman extreme endurance contests, Swiss sports
marketing group Infront, and a stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.
He burst into the international spotlight in 2012 by buying US cinema chain
AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion and his company owns more than 200
malls, shopping complexes and luxury hotels across China.
Wang leapt from fourth to first in the Forbes list, one of several charting
China's most affluent people.
He unseated Jack Ma, founder of tech giant Alibaba, who dropped to second
place on $21.8 billion as his firm's share price slumped in New York.
The 100 richest people in China were worth $450 billion, Forbes said, up
nearly 20 percent in a year -- far faster than current GDP growth of 6.9
percent and despite a rout on Chinese stock markets.
Six out of ten of China's richest were in the technology sector, including Ma
Huateng of Internet titan Tencent (third), Lei Jun of Xiaomi (fourth), and Robin
Li of Chinese search engine Baidu, who slipped four spots this year from
second to sixth.
"China's economy is going through a period of structural change," said Forbes
senior editor and list compiler Russell Flannery, adding that the richest had
found "new opportunities tied to that transition".