BEIJING China's privately-owned Dalian Wanda Group, the world's largest movie theater owner, is in talks with "well-known" hotel chains for acquisition opportunities in the United States, its chairman said on Monday.
Wanda, which also has interests in real estate, tourism and department stores, bought U.S.-based movie theater chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion in September in one of China's biggest overseas entertainment investments, and an example of how Beijing is expanding its 'soft power' abroad.
The company will invest $10 billion in the United States over the next decade and is in talks with famous hotel brands for acquisitions in the Washington D.C. area, New York and Los Angeles, Wang Jianlin, Wanda's chairman, told Reuters in an interview.
"We are in discussions with hotel management companies in the United States and are seeking opportunities for mergers and acquisitions; and we are in negotiations with the city governments of Washington D.C., New York City and other American cities for the construction of hotels, department stores and commercial properties," Wang said.
After completing the AMC buy, a studio executive said Wanda was nearing an agreement with Fox film studio to co-produce films in China.
Wang told Reuters he will be working with 3-4 of the top-6 movie studios in the United States on deals to co-finance and co-produce movies. Though a cinema mogul, Wang says he does not watch movies often.
As China's third-richest man, according to Forbes, Wang faced little backlash over his AMC acquisition. But other major Chinese companies have hit a brick wall of opposition when trying to buy foreign assets. Telecoms equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp were cited in October by a U.S. congressional report as being a potential security threat.
(Reporting by Terril Jones; Writing by Melanie Lee; Editing by Kazunori Takada and Ian Geoghegan)