China’s Richest Man Looking For Successor After Son Refuses To Takeover

Beijing: China’s richest man, owning a $92 billion empire, today said he is looking for a successor, most likely from a group of professional managers, to take over his business after his son declined to be his heir apparent.

Wang Jianlin, 62, founder and chairman of Dalian Wanda Group Co, whose business includes shopping malls, theme parks, sports clubs and cinemas, said he is most likely to pick from a group of professional managers to take over the running of his business.

“I have asked my son about the succession plan, and he said he does not want to live a life like I do,” Mr Wang was quoted as saying by Hong Kong’s South-China Morning Post at China Entrepreneurs Summit.
“Perhaps young people have their own quests and priorities. Probably it will be better to hand over to professional managers and we sit on the board and see them run the company,” he said.

The wealthy scions of China’s billionaire entrepreneurs, known as fu’erdai are increasingly striking different paths, as more than three decades of break-neck economic growth and overseas education have given them different experiences, world view and aspirations from their parents.

More than 80 per cent of Chinese heirs are not keen on assuming the reins of their parents’ businesses, a survey by the Shanghai Jiaotong University, covering 182 of the country’s top family-run companies said.

Some were backing off due to intense pressures, while others simply were pursuing other career interests, study by the association of Chinese private enterprises showed, the Post report said.

Dalian Wanda, founded in the port city of Dalian in 1988, is the epitome of China’s rags-to-wealth story, where it grew from a small property developer into a conglomerate operating malls, hotels, theme parks and the world’s largest chain of movie cinemas.

In the process, it’s made Mr Wang and his only son immensely wealthy.

Mr Wang, who visited India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi had committed to invest about $10 billion in a Chinese project in Haryana.

Following a worldwide buying spree that added AMC Entertainment, the Hoyts Group and Odeon and UCI Cinemas, Mr Wanda now operates the world’s largest chain of cinemas, with more than 10,000 screens.

It also owns hotels operated by Westin and Sofitel, as well as shopping malls and plans to build as many as 15 multibillion-yuan theme parks around the country.

After snapping up stakes in European football clubs, Wanda is now turning its sights on Hollywood, announcing plans to purchase Dick Clark Productions in November that granted it the broadcasting rights to Golden Globe Awards.