Dalian Wanda Group, the Chinese property development giant and owner of the American movie theater chain AMC, closed two major foreign investment deals and announced plans for another in the last 24 hours as it ramps up its international expansion.
Wanda agreed to pay £320 million ($500.45 million) for 92 percent of Sunseeker International, Britain’s largest yacht maker best known for making yachts used in James Bond movies. The purchase of Sunseeker follows Wanda's decision to purchase 30 yachts for three marinas it is building in China.
Wanda also bought a luxury hotel in London and another in New York, the BBC reported Wednesday.
"We thought it would be a better deal if we just bought the company,” Wang Jianlin, Wanda’s founder and chairman said casually, according to The Telegraph of London.
For Wanda, which has more than $40 billion in assets and an annual revenue of $23 billion, the purchase of Sunseeker is indeed a casual purchase. It was only last year that Wanda completed its first major foreign investment when it bought AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion, Reuters reported. The company also invested £700 million in a pair of new London skyscrapers; one is a 660-foot tower of luxury apartments and the other is a 530-foot five-star hotel, the first high-end Chinese hotel overseas, The Telegraph reported.
“The London property market has excellent investment opportunities and we have confidence that Wanda's strength and expertise will help make the Wanda London's premier hotel, and will further promote development in the area,” Wang told BBC News.
China’s third-richest man also has plans for the United States. Wang told Reuters on Tuesday that Wanda aims to invest about $1 billion to build a five-star hotel in New York.
"It will be announced this year, probably in the third quarter if everything goes smoothly," Wang said.
Wanda, founded in 1998 by Wang, already operates 34 five-star hotels and a series of luxury shopping centers in China, in addition to an expansive property portfolio.
The company plans to build a number of its signature luxury hotels in eight to 10 cities outside China in the next decade, Reuters reported, to increase its global presence, primarily in countries with mature economies and legal systems.
Wang has his eyes set on Paris, Sydney and Hong Kong, according to Reuters. These overseas expansion plans are in addition to Wanda’s 16 planned new hotels in China this year, and 19 in the next year.
"China's consumption is growing, especially the market for high-end luxury products, it is growing very rapidly,'' Wang said, according to BBC News. "We have noticed the growth in consumption of luxury yachts, also private planes.”
Sophie is a graduate of Northwestern University. She covers the emerging markets in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in foreign investment in the region....