Thursday, 15 November, 2018

HNA group: China conglomerate boss Wang Jian dies in Provence

Chinese Tycoon Wang Jian Accidentally Falls To Death In France China business SHOCK: China's HNA co-chairman Wang Jian dies after fall in France
Orlando Vargas | 05 July, 2018, 16:32

Chinese aviation-to-financial conglomerate HNA Group rattled capital markets Wednesday with news that co-founder and Chairman Wang Jian accidentally fell and died during a business trip in France.

Rescue services in the region were unable to revive him.

No further details of the circumstances surrounding Wang's death were given.

Since then, it has transformed into a Fortune 500 company, operating China's four-largest airline and acquiring a 25-percent stake in Hilton Worldwide chain of hotels.

China's top leaders agreed to help HNA, people familiar with the matter said last month, providing much-needed relief for a company that couldn't generate enough profits a year ago to pay interest expenses.

He was near the village's upper church when he climbed onto a parapet at about 11:30 (09:30 GMT) to take pictures of the "superb panorama" offered by the Cedres forest, the site says.

HNA, under Wang and his business partner, grew from being a small airline based in China's Hainan Province to a company with $230bn in assets including significant stakes in companies such as Hilton Hotels and Deutsche Bank.

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At the end of 2017, the company reported that its debt was 638 billion yuan (81.5 billion euros), up 36 percent from 2016.

Bonnieux is a mediaeval village in the Provence area of the south of France, a favoured destination for the rich and famous over the peak summer holiday period. Police said they were not treating his death as suspicious.

In a letter internally distributed at HNA earlier this year, Wang blamed the company's hardships on "major conspiracy" against the ruling Communist Party and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, by foreign and domestic "reactionary forces", Reuters said.

He was in charge of HNA's strategy and ran day-to-day operations, sources familiar with the matter have said, while his fellow chairman and co-founder Chen Feng was often the public face of the group.

Social media posts about Wang's death appeared to have been censored on China's tightly controlled internet soon after the news was announced by the group.

The success of HNA can be attributed to the savviness of Mr Wang and Mr Chen but the future of this company might still, in part, depend on the government's policies. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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