Son of China's richest man not keen to take over $130 billion business empire

Son of China's richest man not keen to take over $130 billion business empire

He may be the richest man in China, but Wang Jianlin now appears to be in a bit of a pickle: finding a successor to helm his vast business empire.

That is because his only son appears to have indicated that he has no interest in following in his father's footsteps.

Speaking at an entrepreneurs summit over the weekend, Mr Wang, who is founder and chairman of the Dalian Wanda group, said: "I have asked my son about the succession plan, and he said he does not want to live a life like mine."

"Perhaps young people will make their own choices," he added, according to a transcript of his speech on Wanda's website.

He also said that he will most likely select a professional manager to take over the running of the business, the South China Morning Post reported.

Mr Wang founded Dalian Wanda in 1988. Since then, the company has not only become China's largest property developer, but also owns shopping malls, theme parks, hotels and operates the world's largest cinema chain.

The conglomerate is now valued at 634 billion yuan (S$130.77 billion), Bloomberg reported.

Read also: Taming China's rich, spoilt heirs


Mr Wang's only son, 29-year-old Wang Sicong, currently owns a 2 per cent stake in Dalian Wanda, where he is also a director. He also founded private equity fund Prometheus Capital in 2011, and has invested in Internet gaming and eSports comapnies.

However, the younger Wang has also gained a degree of notoriety on China's social media and online community. In May last year, he was criticised when he shared a photo of his dog wearing two gold Apple watches on its front legs.

He also stoked public anger and slammed for his "vulgar obsessions" when he said that his top criteria for a girlfriend was that she had to be "buxom".

The succession problems at Wanda reflect larger challenges faced by many Chinese family firms that appear not to have any heirs-apparent.

A Shanghai Jiaotong University survey found that more than 80 per cent of Chinese heirs are not keen on taking over their family businesses, as they had been brought up with experiences, aspirations and worldviews that are different from their parents', the South China Morning Post reported.


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