Before Jack Ma got into trouble with Beijing for his free-wheeling ways, there was Wang Jianlin.

Once China’s richest man, the founder of commercial real estate giant Dalian Wanda Group Co. was forced to unload trophy assets by the government after an acquisition spree that hit an estimated $16 billion in 2016 alone. The sales turned out to be a blessing in disguise now that China’s property market has slumped.

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