The e-commerce venture, which will be 70% owned by Wanda and 15% held by Tencent and Baidu respectively, is set to be announced later this week, the people said. The venture will unite three of China’s most powerful non-state companies. For Wanda, the tie-up with Tencent and Baidu opens the door to new opportunities in the world’s biggest e-commerce market as the rise of smartphones creates new business opportunities.
Wanda is a commercial property, luxury hotel and film conglomerate controlled by Wang Jianlin, China’s wealthiest billionaire with a net worth of US$16bil (RM50.4bil) according to Forbes. Wanda, which bought US-cinema operator AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc in 2012, operates 83 department stores in major cities throughout China.
Tencent is China’s biggest listed internet firm with a market capitalisation of US$156bil (RM491.45bil). Baidu is China’s dominant search engine provider.
A Wanda spokesman declined to comment, as did spokeswomen for Baidu and Tencent according to Reuters.
Liyan Chen of Forbes describes the deal as three of the richest men in China were ganging up on Alibaba’s Jack Ma. The three are Wang Jianlin, Pony Ma, and Robin Li, who could represent a formidable alliance with a combined fortune of $48 billion.
What will China’s competition authority has to say about this deal?