China’s conglomerate Wanda, owned by the country’s richest man, said its turnover fell by 14% in 2016 despite a surge in receipts in the entertainment sector where it has multiplied its investments

Wanda, which is owned by Wang Jianlin and has been on a high-profile overseas acquisition spree in recent years, said it had recorded a decline in revenue for the first time in at least eleven years.

The group did not provide a detailed breakdown, but in 2015 it reported revenues of 290.2 billion yuan, which would imply a turnover of roughly 250 billion yuan (34 billion euros) in 2016.

Wanda pointed to a sharp slowdown in commercial real estate, to an oversupply of shopping malls in Chinese cities, and to an overcrowded online market to explain the drop in revenue.

Commercial real estate revenues fell by 25 percent in 2016, according to a statement released by the group on Saturday, but added that the company had opened 50 new “Wanda Plazas”.

Wanda Commercial Properties, which was a Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, was also removed from the stock market last year, but could be reintroduced to the Chinese mainland soon.

However, revenues generated by the conglomerate’s culture and tourism activities jumped 25 percent to 64.1 billion yuan (8.7 billion euros), with a rise of 31.4 percent in the film sector. 

Wanda is trying to diversify into entertainment, tourism and sport to reduce its dependence on real estate.

In January, Wanda spent $3.5 billion to purchase Legendary Entertainment, the company behind the “Batman” trilogy and “Jurassic World”, as well as the upcoming “The Great Wall”, starring Matt Damon and directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou.

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.

Wang owns more than 200 malls, shopping complexes and luxury hotels across China. – Agence France-Presse

- Advertisement -