Multi-millionaire dies after falling off a cliff while taking photo

Gladys Abbott
July 6, 2018

The pair built what was originally a regional Chinese airline into one of the country's largest privately held conglomerates with interests in multiple airlines, hotels, financial institutions and other assets in China and overseas. Wang is seen as the architect of HNA's high-flying acquisitions over the past few years, snapping up billions of dollars of global assets including stakes in Hilton Worldwide and Deutsche Bank.

The obituary in English included a statement of HNA Group's board and management team, led by co-founder and Chairman Chen Feng and CEO Adam Tan. It called Wang "an exceptionally gifted leader and role model".

According toBloomberg, Wang Jian said in an internal speech in February that HNA has been a victim of a conspiracy against the Chinese government and "the Communist Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core".

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"Wang's passing will mark the end of an era of aggressive expansion by HNA", Corrine Png, chief executive at the Singapore-based research firm Crucial Perspective, told the Bloomberg financial news agency. It also has finance, logistics and technology businesses.

Police said he fell off a wall in the village of Bonnieux on Tuesday as he was having his picture taken.

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But HNA came under pressure a year ago as Beijing cracked down on the risky debt-fuelled financing that enabled its expansion.

Chinese tycoon Wang Jian has died in France in freaky circumstances while on a sight-seeing trip. HNA ranked 170th on the list previous year, rising 183 spots. No additional details were divulged by HNA.

Jian was a civil aviation official early in his career before helping to found Hainan Airlines in the early 1990s.

His death complicates the troubled conglomerate's efforts to restructure and pay off borrowings, and could increase pressure on HNA to reveal more about its often-criticised opaque ownership.

HNA's individual shareholders have promised to give their stakes to the NY charity fund in case of leaving the company or death, according to the document. In January, as the volume of news about HNA's liquidity issues peaked, it suspended six of its listed stocks from trading. In June, HNA sold a bond in China after a rare five-month drought, signalling a crucial source of funding for the conglomerate may be opening up.

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