The Wrap: Wanda Chairman Warns 20,000 U.S. Jobs at Risk
News story originally published at TheWrap.com
By Meriah Doty
China’s richest man urges the Motion Picture Association of America to send a message to President-elect Donald Trump.
“I’ve invested over $10 billion in the U.S., employing over 20,000 people,” said Wang Jianlin, film mogul and chairman of the Wanda Group.
“If something goes wrong, these 20,000-plus people might be out of jobs,” he warned during a Q&A in Beijing on Saturday—repeating a message he asked MPAA chairman Chris Dodd to pass on to Trump.
The president-elect has threatened to place restrictions on China’s business with the U.S. and conversations on Capitol Hill have been bubbling up around curbing China’s latest inroads into Hollywood—all threats to Wang’s latest business moves.
Wang is the founder and CEO of China’s Wanda Group, which will own the largest movie theater chain in the U.S. once its subsidiary AMC Entertainment completes its acquisition of Carmike Cinemas. The Wanda chief has also made clear his designs on buying one of Hollywood’s big six studios.
This year Wanda also acquired Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion and is in talks to add Dick Clark Productions for another billion. The company also formed an alliance with Sony Pictures last month and is on pace to spend $30 billion in deals this year—half in sports and entertainment.
“Other things aside, in the film and entertainment industry, you have to understand that English-language films are relying on the Chinese market for growth,” added Wang of the world’s second-biggest movie market, just behind the U.S.
Richard Berman, executive director of the Washington D.C. think tank Center for American Security, said Wang’s “posturing” is “meaningless” in a statement obtained by TheWrap on Sunday. “All of his acquisitions had employees before he engaged in buying them,” added Berman, who is spearheading opposition to Dalian Wanda’s investment in the U.S. movie industry. “These are not new jobs nor are they dependent on his ownership. In fact, the profits from these acquisitions will flow to Communist China, not to U.S. interests or stockholders.”