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China Billionaire Buys L.A. Land for Foray Into Hollywood Films

Dalian Wanda Group, which controls the second-largest U.S. cinema chain, won the bid for a piece of land in Los Angeles as the Chinese company sets its sights on Hollywood.

Wanda, the Chinese developer controlled by billionaire Wang Jianlin, plans to invest $1.2 billion after beating more than 10 bidders for the 32,000 square meter (344,320 square foot) plot in Beverly Hills, the company said in a statement on its website. Wanda plans to set up an office in the city and help China’s entry into Hollywood’s film industry, it said.

Wanda, which in 2012 bought U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. for $2.6 billion, is among Chinese companies seeking acquisitions overseas to gain foreign expertise, brands and technology. AMC Entertainment sold more than 21 million Class A shares for $18 each in an initial public offering in December.

Wanda said last year it plans to invest 50 billion yuan ($8.1 billion) to build an entertainment park in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao that will include a movie museum and 20 studios scheduled for completion in 2017.

Wang, 59, is China’s third-richest man, with a net worth of $14.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The billionaire is the oldest of five brothers born to a military family in western China’s Sichuan province, near the border with Tibet. His father fought for Mao Zedong’s Red Army during the Long March campaign in the 1930s, and later against the Japanese in World War II. Wang joined the People’s Liberation Army as a teenager and served for 16 years.

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