Asia’s richest person Wang Jianlin has lost $3.6 billion since “Black Monday” this week, his overall negative number amounting to $13 billion from the time the Chinese stock market bubble burst on June 12, 2015. The Monday downturn cost him $2 billion from his stake in Dalian commercial properties and close to $1 billion from his Wanda Cinema Line theaters, not to mention bad hits from other investments.
A hard-driving capitalist who once served in Communist China’s People’s Liberation Army, he became the world’s largest owner of theaters when he bought U.S.-based AMC Entertainment in 2012, according to Wikipedia. In March 2014, he took ownership of the Edificio España building in Madrid, Spain, while acquiring land in Beverly Hills, California, for the American headquarters of his entertainment empire. In January 2015, he secured a 20 percent stake in Atletico Madrid, the Spanish football club.
The Shanghai-based Hurun report early this year pegged Wang’s estimated worth at $42.6 billion to give him the title of Asia’s richest person previously held by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index reported that aside from Wang, the world’s top 10 billionaires also felt the pain of Monday’s crash. Bill Gates, the world’s richest man worth $76.3 billion, parted with $3.2 billion, followed by Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffet, valued at $62.7 billion, losing $2 billion. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, valued at $44.6 billion, suffered a $2.6 billion depreciation, while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg dropped $1.7 billion. Oracle founder Larry Ellison lost $1.6 billion, while Mexican businessman Carlos Slim’s net worth was reduced by $1.6 billion.
According to Time, the world’s richest 400 people collectively lost $124 billion in Black Monday’s market correction. With Bill Gates at the helm, the heavyweight losers sent ripples felt by stock markets at the other side of the globe. Though the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped some 660 points from its peak on Tuesday, it was an improvement over the 1,000-point crash on Black Monday.
Wang Jianlin’s father was a soldier in Mao Zedong’s Red Army that endured weather extremes and warlord harassment during the Long March from 1934 to 1935. Wang himself saw military service with the People’s Liberation Army for 16 years, starting as a lowly guard. This disciplined background seems to have paid dividends in the way he developed his Dalian Wanda Group’s portfolio to accumulate 17 million square meters of shopping malls, luxury hotels, and real estate.
According to Guardian, Wang was lured to the United Kingdom by Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson in the course of their 2013 trade mission to China. As a result, Wang now owns the luxury boat company Sunseeker Yachts and is planning to build the first Chinese luxury hotel overseas on the Nine Elmas regeneration site in southwest London.
The Chinese stock market turmoil could just be another learning experience for this disciplined ex-soldier-turned-Asia’s richest person.
[Photo by China Foto Press/Getty Images]