SCMP: Wang Jianlin Warns U.S. on Barriers to Chinese Investment in Hollywood
News story originally published at SCMP.com
By Peggy Sito
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, warned on Wednesday for the US not to erect barriers against Chinese investment into Hollywood.
“So far the US government has not launched any censorship or control of the entertainment industry,“ Wang said at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
But if this happens, it would be bad for both the United States and China, according to China’s richest man.
“This is certainly part of protectionism,” he said. The growth market of English language films out of the US is China. The new growth must come from China. It is a major source of income.”
“So, if China were to retaliate, it’s bad for both parties. I do not wish to see that materialise,” he added.
Wang’s warning came as Chinese investors’ acquisitions in Hollywood have raised hackles among some US politicians who want closer scrutiny of those potential deals.
His comments come days before the US swears in as president a man who’s repeatedly attacked China by deriding its trading and currency policies as being unfair. Wang’s purchases in the US have already prompted 18 members of Congress to urge the government to begin reviewing Chinese investments that may involve control of media and other soft-power institutions.
Wanda is among the most active investors in Hollywood, acquiring Legendary Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions in 2016.
Wang said he had asked Motion Picture Association of America chairman Christopher Dodd if he could send a message to Donald Trump, who wil be sworn in as US President on Friday.
“Let’s leave the entertainment industry alone. No war, please.”
Despite the potential controls, Wang said he was interested in buying some of the leading Hollywood studios.
“There are six top Hollywood studios. If we are able to buy one of these top six , that will be the great thing to do. I will be a happy buyer,” he said.
But the six companies are in no mood to sell, the Dalian Wanda official explained.
Wang, 62, joined the army as a teenager and then left to go into government before branching off into real estate, where he built a fortune that now ranks second only to that of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma in China.