While some billionaires will do whatever it takes to make sure that their kids take over the family business, China’s richest man seems to be at peace with the fact that buying up all the things in the world isn’t exactly what his own son wants to do with his life.
Wang Jianlin, the chairman of real estate and entertainment giant Dalian Wanda Group, told an entrepreneur summit in Beijing on Saturday that he plans to hand over his business empire to professional managers rather than his only son:
First, for the issue of the successor, as of now, I have asked my son. He has said that he isn’t willing to live the kind of life I live. Perhaps young people make their own choices, but I think there is still time to consider this issue. Our company professional managers also have a reserve team. It may be better to hand over to the professional managers.
We have seen what they’re doing from the board level, and it is not a bad choice. We have many professional managers to choose from. We have five industry groups. Those are the future successors, of which only one can be chosen. We will not choose anyone deliberately, but shall see who that person is through competition. Deliberate cultivation would not necessarily be good; competition bringing someone forward is better.
Starting off with buying real-estate, Wang has managed to build Dalian Wanda into an enormous empire worth 634 billion yuan ($91.7 billion). Recently, he has switched more and more to the realm of entertainment — buying up movie theaters and Hollywood film studios and building theme parks.
While this might seem like a good gig, apparently it is not for Wang Sicong, the mogul’s 29-year-old playboy son. Wang Sicong holds a 2% stake in his father’s company, but seems more interested in his own projects, including investing in eSports and Internet companies, running Shanghai’s first 7-star hotel, blowing lots of money out at the KTV, and growing his social media prescence.
Wang Sicong is an Internet celebrity with over 21 million Weibo followers. His dog is also a pretty big deal on Chinese social media. Coco always keeps up with the latest trends in the tech world.
During the same Q&A session in Beijing, Wang Jianlin said that he had buried the hatchet with Shanghai Disneyland, while launching into a new feud with the US president-elect. Wang said that he had sent a message to Donald Trump, warning the incoming president that if he tries to stop him from investing in the US, then 20,000 American jobs are on the line.
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