Chinese tycoon Wang Jian dies from fall in France

Chinese tycoon Wang Jian dies from fall in France

Chinese tycoon Wang Jian dies from fall in France

Wang Jian, aged 57, suffered "severe injuries" in a 15 metre- (49 foot-) fall in Provence in southern France on Tuesday, according to the police.

"It's really shocking news to us", said an employee who works in finance at HNA, declining to give his name.

Wang was in charge of HNA's strategy and ran day-to-day operations, sources familiar with the matter have said, while his fellow chairman and co-founder Chen Feng was often the public face of the group.

BEIJING-The co-chairman of HNA Group, a conglomerate that operates China's fourth-largest airline and finance, logistics and other businesses around the world, died in an accident while on a business trip in France, the company said Wednesday.

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HNA's board and management team said in a statement: "HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr Wang's family and many friends".

A local police chief, Hubert Meriaux, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency that Mr Wang had been trying to get his family to take a picture of him when he fell.

He held a 15 per cent stake in HNA.

Wang told employees earlier this year that the company's difficulties were the result of a "major conspiracy" against the ruling Communist Party and President Xi Jinping by foreign and domestic "reactionary forces", according to an internally-distributed email.

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Wang, a devout Buddhist, set a goal for HNA to become one of the top companies in the Fortune 500, arguing it would be the most efficient way to raise its profile, one of the people said.

He obtained an undergraduate degree in Aviation Management from Civil Aviation University of China in 1983, and a master's degree in business administration from Holland Maastricht School of Management in 1995.

However, after a $50b global buying spree of hotels, real estate, financial services and other investments, HNA is now one of the country's most indebted companies. Borrowing costs soared as its interim report showed the conglomerate paid the highest interest expense among non-financial companies in Asia, a trend that continued through 2017.

However, the deal had looked increasingly uncertain because of liquidity problems that have seen HNA shed more than $20 billion of assets to pay down debt. In June, HNA sold a bond in China after a rare five-month drought, signaling a crucial source of funding for the conglomerate may be opening up.

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