Golden Horse Zhang ZiyiJia ZhangkeZhang Yimou"Conspirators"Bona

Wanda Group-Master of The Game

2012-05-11 11:33:38        China Daily

One of these has already sprung up in Wuhan near the central culture are of Han Street. The 1,500-meter Wuhan Han Street is the largest single investment of Wanda Group in the culture and travel industries, estimated at 8 billion yuan. It is a commercial complex spread over 1.8 square kilometers with five-star hotels, grade A office buildings, waterfront mansions and the longest pedestrian street in the world. The group is looking to make it China's Fifth Avenue not only for fashion and luxury brands, but also cultural destinations.

Though he is soft-spoken and mild-mannered, there is no doubt about the steely resolve and sharp business acumen of Wang when he talks. The Wanda Group chairman says that much of his "grit" came from his tough days in the army.

"I joined the army when I was just 14 years old. I started as a soldier, and in the army I learnt that to be successful, one has to be brave, hard working, resolute and perseverant," Wang says.

Born in 1954 into the family of a senior army officer in Chengdu, Sichuan province, life was never easy for Wang. After graduating from junior high school in 1968, Wang's army stint took him to the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Plagued by lack of healthy food and warm clothing, the young Wang soon realized that hard work and clear focus were essential tools for survival.

The effort and excellent performance paid off in 1978 when he was selected to the military academy in Dalian. After working in the academy for several years, Wang left the army and took up a job as the chief of staff to the chief of Dalian's Xigang district.

Although the prospect a political career was quite promising, Wang decided to use his potential elsewhere. In 1988, Wang became the general manager of a local residential development company, the predecessor of Wanda, in Xigang district.

In the beginning, Wanda's land purchases were largely restricted to buying from State-owned real estate companies, with meager profits. In 1989, Wanda got permission to develop a residential project in Dalian's Nanshan district, and completed it successfully. With this project, Wang made his first 2 million yuan of profits from the real estate industry.

But the real success for the group came when it was selected to revamp the old districts of Dalian. It was this accomplishment that made the group the largest local real estate developer in Dalian.

In 1994, Wanda also became the first real estate company to dabble in sports promotion by sponsoring the Dalian football club for the Chinese football league.

In 2000, Wanda pulled out of the soccer industry as by that time its business focuses had shifted from residential properties to commercial realty.

Wanda plans to open 18 Wanda plazas, its trademark commercial complexes, and 40 high-end hotels this year. With these developments, the group expects its overall turnover to surpass 200 billion yuan by 2015.

"We have confidence that Wanda will develop into the largest business in the immovable property industry globally, surpassing Simon Property Group, the largest global real estate developer in the United States," Wang says.

The chairman also hints that the group would make a sizable acquisition soon, without indicating the sector. "It will astonish the world", is all what he chose to say on the subject.

Wanda Group is said to be in talks to buy a significant stake in AMC Entertainment Inc, which owns the second-largest movie theater chain in North America, according a recent report by The New York Times.

By his own account, Wang admits that he is a workaholic. An early riser, he often works from 7 am into the wee hours of the following morning.

But all those hours of hard work have not been wasted. Over the years Wang has built up a sizable collection of contacts, both at the professional level and with the government. He, however, says that having contacts is not enough for success. "Be it a person himself, or a company itself that decides the fate."

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