Ambitions of mega-rich can help country grow

By Li Aixin Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/3 19:31:44


Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, China's largest real estate developer, shared his secret path to being among the world's richest people in a recent interview. The method is simple - "setting a small target first, say, earning 100 million yuan ($14.9 million)." 

Not surprisingly, Wang's methods have quickly gone viral on Chinese social media, with many net users starting to make their own "small targets" such as "losing 35 kilos as a first step to fight against obesity," or joking that Wang's goal is "a small step for himself, but a giant leap for mankind." 

Yet there is a precondition when Wang said so - he was talking about how to become the richest, not just ordinarily wealthy. As a matter of fact, 100 million yuan was his first goal when he just started his company, which was then worth just 1 million yuan. However, Wang topped the Hurun China Rich List last year with a fortune of 170 billion yuan, meaning that he has already accomplished 1,700 "small targets" over the years. 

Wang's "small target" was only a tiny part of the 45-minute interview and many other details he said are worth noticing. He said he is planning to build 15 amusement park complexes throughout China to "make sure that Disneyland doesn't make any money here in the next 20 years." Apart from making some changes in China, Wang has made up his mind to "change the world where rules are set by foreigners." 

This seems like a grand goal, but if there is anything that Wang's past has taught us, it must be "never give up your dream, as you never know when it will come true." In today's China, home to a rapidly increasing number of home-made billionaires, Wang's dream represents the new generation of rich people, who are determined to make more Chinese industries more competitive and influential worldwide. 

Wang has splashed billions on a controlling stake in American Multi- Cinema, the world's largest movie theater chain, and major Hollywood film studio Legendary Entertainment. He is now considering to acquire the stake in Paramount Pictures, another renowned global movie studio as one of his steps to import Hollywood's technologies and capabilities and build a real Chinese movie empire. 

Jack Ma Yun, chairman of Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant, has been investing in the sports industry since 2014. Ma's firm bought a 50 percent stake of Guangzhou's Evergrande football club, initiated a strategic partnership with International Boxing Association to collaborate on supporting the boxing development in China and the world, and has been investing in American football and table tennis. 

In June, Chinese electronic retail giant Suning bought a 70 percent stake in Italian football club Inter Milan and Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing purchased Italian AC Milan soccer team two months later. Among many reasons, those Chinese companies wish to gain advanced know-how from abroad as major shareholders of the foreign clubs and enterprises, and bring them back to China. 

Admittedly, boosting every category of China's sports and entertainment industries and make them among the highest in the world is going to be a long process. But some push is needed every once in a while not only from the government, but also from the rich, given their economic might and social influence. 

There must be factors including market trends and interests behind those companies' investments. Intentionally or not, they have not only taught us a lesson that ordinary people can join the ranks of the rich, but are also turning their power into a vital driving force for national development. 

Among all the netizens who have made jokes about Wang's "small target," quite a few showed their admiration while some sound a bit sore. 

It's not surprising that people are resentful toward the rich, given the realities of how fortunes were made over the last few decades. But people should think rationally about this and remember that many of the rich achieved their wealth through their own efforts and skills, and their targets, small or big, might be worth paying attention to. 

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

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