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China's Wanda aims to launch $1 billion NY hotel project this year: chairman

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, poses for a photo during an interview at his office in the company's headquarters in Beijing D
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, poses for a photo during an interview at his office in the company's headquarters in Beijing D

BEIJING (Reuters) - Wanda Group, China's largest commercial real estate developer, aims to invest about $1 billion to build a five-star hotel in New York as its third major investment outside its home market, Chairman Wang Jianlin said on Tuesday.

The company is now in talks with potential partners for construction of a Wanda hotel and an adjacent apartment building in New York, Wang told Reuters.

"It will be announced this year, probably in the third quarter if everything goes smoothly," he said in an interview in his Beijing headquarters overlooking the Chinese capital's busiest boulevard.

His comments followed the company's announcement of a 1 billion pound ($1.56 billion) British investment, including the acquisition of Sunseeker, Britain's largest luxury yacht maker by sales, and the construction of a 160-room Wanda hotel and an apartment building in London.

The privately held conglomerate, with businesses ranging from hotels to shopping malls to cinemas, made its first international foray last year, buying U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion.

Wang, ranked China's third-richest man by Forbes, has succeeded in closing overseas deals for service-sector acquisitions and investments while Chinese companies in more sensitive fields such as resources and telecommunications have often faced opposition when trying to buy foreign assets.

Wang said the New York hotel project would involve about the same amount of investment as the 700 million pound Wanda Hotel planned for London.

He aims to build Wanda hotels in eight to 10 cities outside China over the next decade in an effort to increase the company's global presence, primarily in countries with mature economies and legal systems.

Candidates for Wanda's next overseas hotel would include Paris, Sydney and Hong Kong, he said.

In China, Wanda plans to build 16 new hotels this year and 19 next year, adding to 38 already in operation.

Wanda, with revenue of 141.7 billion yuan ($23.1 billion)last year, will finance the British investment half from its own resources and half from bank loans, Wang said. It will select either the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd <601398.SS> <1398.HK>, policy lender The Export-Import Bank of China or HSBC Holdings Plc as the lender.

(Reporting by Langi Chiang and Jonathan Standing; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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