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Chinese billionaire warns against protectionism

December 13, 2016

The richest man in China, Wanda Group CEO Wang Jianlin, warns President-elect Donald Trump that over 20,000 American jobs would be at risk if he mishandles Chinese investment in the United States.

China Wang Jianlin Wanda Group übernimmt US-Firma Legendary Entertainment
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Dela Pena

Wang Jianlin the CEO of Wanda Group, a property-to-entertainment conglomerate, said blocking Chinese investment in the US would have severe consequences. He was responding to Donald Trump's and US lawmakers' increasing scrutiny of Chinese acquisitions of American assets. Wang said "I have over $10 billion [9.4 billion euros] investment in the United States and employ over 20,000 people," adding "if things are mishandled, they will have nothing to eat."

Chinese firms have been on a high-profile overseas acquisition spree in recent years, snapping up leading film studios and television production companies. Some US lawmakers have said that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government group tasked with assessing the national security implications of foreign investments, should examine such deals, including Wanda's.

Economist: Trade war between US and China a 'clear and present danger'

The movies

Wanda Group is especially strong in the US entertainment field. They bought movie theater chain AMC for $2.6 billion in 2012. This January, Wanda spent $3.5 billion to purchase Legendary Entertainment, the company behind the "Batman" trilogy and "Jurassic World." In November, it acquired the maker of the Golden Globes awards show, Dick Clark Productions, for "approximately $1 billion."

Wang said the attention from the US Congress reflected the Chinese company's growing influence in the country. "We still have to wait to see Mr. Trump's attitude towards Chinese cultural enterprises after he assumes office," Wang said.

tr/hg (AFP, Forbes)