China's Richest Man Plans $10 Billion India Development Project

  • Wanda says it signed preliminary agreement with Haryana state
  • Accord is latest in a flurry of deals from Wanda this month

Billionaire Wang Jianlin.

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co.agreed to spearhead a $10 billion project to build an industrial park in India, in what could become one of the biggest development projects in the country.

Wanda Group, China’s biggest commercial-property developer, signed a preliminary agreement with the northern Indian state of Haryana to build an industrial zone, the company said in a statement on Friday. The first phase of "Wanda Industrial New City," whose construction may begin this year, will span 13 square kilometers (5 square miles) and house companies in industries ranging from software to cars and healthcare, it said.

 Wang Jianlin

Wang Jianlin.

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Should the project be completed, it would mark as a victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to bring in foreign capital as the development would rank among the biggest such investments in Asia’s third-largest economy. The proposal also highlights the growing ambitions of a business tycoon who already boasts an estimated wealth exceeding anyone in Asia.

The investment’s scale suggests it would be the largest foreign investment into India, said Sanjay Dutt, executive managing director for South Asia at Cushman & Wakefield Inc. in Mumbai. 

Wanda will be largely responsible for investing in the initial infrastructure and the company will attract Chinese and other international companies to participate in the development and setting up operations, according to the statement. The agreement is the result of talks between Wang, Modi and Haryana State Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar that began in June of 2015, according to the statement.

A “Wanda Cultural Tourism City” and a residential district may also be developed as part of the project, according to the statement.

Representatives at the group couldn’t immediately specify how much of the total investment amount would come from the Chinese conglomerate, although an earlier Chinese statement from Wanda’s WeChat microblog account said it would invest $10 billion.

It’s been a busy month for Wang, whose sprawling business ranges from property to malls, entertainment and finance. In January alone, Wanda Group announced it will invest $2.3 billion to build three hospitals in China, it agreed to buy "Godzilla"-producer Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion and announced the formation of a financial group as part of a reorganization of his empire.

— With assistance by Emma Dong

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