This week’s highlights of the movers and shakers in the world of business in China:
Jack Ma comes to New York City, said to be meeting with Steven Spielberg
Jack Ma, one of China’s richest men, was spotted in New York near Central Park this morning following the completion of Alibaba’s conference in Detroit. Beijing News, a reputable publication in China, said on its Weibo account that Ma was meeting with the award-winning Hollywood director Steven Spielberg to discuss the idea of collaborating on a movie that he is going to invest in.
In October 2016, Ma’s Alibaba Pictures Group bought a stake in Spielberg’s production company Amblin Partners to work together in the production and distribution of films in China, the world’s second-largest movie market. Update: After his meeting with Spielberg, where he witnessed Spielberg directing a film, Ma posted pictures via his personal Weibo account. “After two hours of shadowing,” Ma said in one post, “I decide to give up the idea of being a film director.”
Vanke’s legendary Chinese chairman steps down
Wang Shi, Founder and Chairman of China Vanke, the largest property developer in China, is stepping down. He is credited with having been the driving force behind Vanke’s growth from a small player in Shenzhen’s real estate scene to the powerful contender it is in the industry today. One of China’s most renowned business figures, he’s as known for his financial acumen as he is for live-tweeting from the Boston Marathon (in support of Vanke staffers who were running it) in the year of the bombing. At the time of announcing the news, Wang Shi said in a social media post that he was “passing on the baton” to the next generation with the executive team to be led by Yu Liang, the current president of Vanke.
Chinese billionaire may produce the legendary British sportscar, the Lotus, in China
Chinese billionaire Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is buying 49.9 percent of Malaysia’s Proton automaker (for $40 million). In the deal, Geely will also get 51 percent of Lotus (for $65 million). Geely, which has gobbled up ailing foreign carmakers in recent years including Volvo in 2010 and a London black cab maker in 2013, said it will consider producing Lotus sports cars in China. The deal opens up the Southeast Asia market for Geely, which says by 2020, it will achieve a sales target of three million units.
RIP, Carla Fendi
Today we pay our respects to Clara Fendi, who passed away on June 20 at 79. Clara is the honorary president of the Italian furrier, which she inherited along with her mother and four sisters. Her grandparents founded the company in 1925. In 2007, Fendi memorably staged a runway show at the Great Wall of China — the first fashion show, a spokesperson said at the time, to be visible from the moon.