Tycoon named ‘China’s richest man’

AFP-JIJI

The multibillionaire who bought U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment and has just acquired a luxury British yacht builder has taken top spot as China’s richest man, according to Forbes magazine.

Wang Jianlin, head of conglomerate Wanda Group — a private firm with interests ranging from property to retailing — had an estimated wealth of $14 billion, the magazine said on its website.

His fortune soared from $8 billion last year, when he was in third place, putting him $3 billion ahead of former titleholder Zong Qinghou, a beverage tycoon, it said.

A recovery in China’s property market helped swell Wang’s wealth, Forbes Shanghai bureau chief Russell Flannery said Tuesday.

The $14 billion figure would have put Wang in 63rd place, just ahead of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in Forbes last global billionaires list, published in March. Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim topped the rankings with an estimated fortune of $73 billion, while Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was second with $67 billion.