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Wanda Group ventures onto the global stage

By Liu Wei  (China Daily)

08:17, January 04, 2013

An IMAX cinema that Wanda Group operates in Changsha, Hunan province, is a local attraction. Wanda Cinema Line holds around 15 percent of the market share on the Chinese mainland. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Tycoon Wang Jianlin is moving fast, both in the United States and Beijing, to build a multifunctional conglomerate featuring film and TV, theater and theme parks, Liu Wei reports.

Eighty billion yuan ($12.8 billion): That's the annual revenue Wang Jianlin, chairman of China's Wanda Group, expects from his cultural business in the near future. On Dec 1, Wang announced the establishment of the Beijing Wanda Culture Industry Group, a branch of Wanda Group. With registered capital of 5 billion yuan and total assets of 31 billion yuan, the company is China's largest cultural enterprise.

The group has 11 companies, involved in nine fields, including Wanda Cinema Line, AMC Theatres - which it acquired in the US by September - Wanda Film & TV Media Co, Wanda Theme Park Co, Wanda Gallery and Popular Cinema, a film magazine.

"We have set a great goal for this company. In 2020 the revenue will reach 80 billion yuan, ranking within the global top 10 of cultural industry players," said Wang during a speech to the 11th China Entrepreneur Summit on Dec 7.

The ambitious plan might not be just a slogan. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in Munich released its "Top 50 Global Culture Industry Players Study" in early December, ranking Wanda Group 37th on the list after Walt Disney Co, News Corp and Time Warner, for its cross-sectoral activity by annual revenue.

Wanda's high-profile in the cultural industry has been eye-catching. The conglomerate started as a property company and is now one of the most powerful players in the industry. Commercial property contributed 95.3 billion yuan of its total revenue of 105.1 billion yuan in 2011 and by the end of 2012, Wanda will exceed its target for annual revenue, 116 billion yuan, and will have 35 new Wanda Plazas, featuring shopping malls and cinemas, within two years, according to Wang.

But the Wanda chairman is obviously thinking about more than just land. Since 2005 the company has invested in the culture sector, beginning with the construction of cinemas in its commercial properties as evidenced by Wanda Plazas.

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