Bowen Press reported yesterday that Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men and director of the Dalian Wanda Group, was stopped at Tianjin airport on Friday as he attempted to fly to London. The report said he was released after several hours but told he could not leave China. Wang has been in the headlines for the past few months over various restructurings as Wanda Group faced growing financial difficulties. Debt problems have caused the company to sell off assets such as theme parks and hotels. Wanda also abandoned major projects, including Wang’s ambitious plan to invest billions of dollars into Hollywood studios.
Wanda Group released a statement saying that in recent weeks “certain individuals with ulterior motives have created and spread various vicious rumours” about supposed restrictions placed on Wang. “Wanda Group strongly reiterates that all of these rumours are utterly baseless and have ulterior motives behind them,” it added. But the Hong Kong-listed shares of Wanda Hotel Development Co plunged on the same day.
Wanda has diversified rapidly in recent years from commercial property into entertainment, theme parks, sports and other sectors, and is now reportedly facing difficulty paying off debts run up in its buying sprees.