The multibillionaire founder of Dalian Wanda Group Wang Jianlin 王健林 once vowed to crush Disney’s theme parks in China by building scores of resort complexes around the country. But it seems the Mouse has won: Wanda plans to sell most of its tourism businesses in China, including theme parks.
Reuters says Wanda will “offload 91 percent of thirteen cultural tourism projects, which usually include theme parks and leisure complexes, and 76 hotels to the acquisitive Tianjin-based developer Sunac for 63.18 billion yuan.”
Variety offers five possible reasons for the sale, including a reduction of the (possibly massive) debt incurred during Wanda’s global spending spree over the last few years, avoidance of the growing regulatory scrutiny in China, and competition from Disney. There have been no signs — yet — that Wanda intends to retreat from its significant investments in movie theaters and Hollywood production companies.
China enlists start-ups in high-tech arms race / Financial Times (paywall)
After Xi Jinping appointed himself the head of a new commission overseeing “joint military and civilian development,” the FT reports that “China’s military is increasingly enlisting smaller private sector start-ups” to provide hi-tech weaponry.
China takes lead in Pacific shipping after $6.3 billion deal / Bloomberg
Mergers and acquisitions
China prepares fresh round of state-orchestrated mega-mergers / Financial Times (paywall)
China tests self-sustaining space station in Beijing / Reuters
First gene-edited dog cloned in China raises ethical concerns / Sixth Tone
Apple and Weibo
After Toutiao and Zhihu, Weibo decides to compromise with Apple over tipping / TechNode