Wang Sicong will certainly not be satisfied with business class. It has to be first class. The 34-year-old is commonly referred to as “China’s wealthiest son”. Wang Sicong has no problem with that, he likes to show off his wealth on social media. He throws outrageously expensive parties, sees women as objects, and lives the life of someone who has too much money and is only too happy to let others know it.
Wang Sicong is the only son of Wang Jianlin, founder and CEO of real estate and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group. The group employs almost 160,000 people. Wang Sicong holds a director’s post.
With the best will in the world, the German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter cannot and does not want to and cannot imagine a life like that of Wang Sicong. Nevertheless, with a view to the Diamond League athletics series starting in Doha on Friday, he would have had at least a minimum of luxury, for example a flight in business class.
“My return flight would have been at 1:30 Saturday night. Then sitting in economy class, hardly able to close an eye, would have been quite counterproductive for the competition in Offenburg the day after,” he told Sport1. The consequence: the last by far best javelin thrower will not compete in Doha.
What does this have to do with Wang Sicong? Founded and run by his father, Wanda Group, who pampers him, is the main sponsor of the Diamond League. And maybe the ticket in the wood class is an indication of how the sponsor is doing – not good.
Led by the ambitious Wang Jianlin, Wanda Group grew at a breathtaking pace. Apparently too fast. The company’s debt has increased dramatically in recent years. Wanda Group is currently mainly concerned with downsizing. Only recently she sold tourism projects for the equivalent of around six billion euros, and further sales could follow soon.
Up until a few years ago, things ran like clockwork for the Wanda Group – in the best sense of the word. Wang Jianlin maintained close ties with China’s elite political circles. Only through contacts was he able to lease land to become a real estate mogul. According to several reports, money is said to have flowed. Of course, nothing has been proven. But as time went by, China’s leaders distanced themselves more and more from Wang Jianlin and his shady and risky dealings.
To avoid the risk of going bankrupt when the real estate bubble burst in China, Wang Jianlin got involved in other business areas. He invested in entertainment and therefore in sports. Among other things, Wang Jianlin bought shares in Atlético Madrid, became an official partner of the world football association Fifa and has been the main sponsor of the Diamond League athletics series since 2020.
However, the timing of the investment in the core Olympic sport could hardly have been more unfortunate: For the second time in a row, the Diamond League will not take place in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen due to the coronavirus pandemic, as announced a few days ago. This means that the main reason for the sponsorship, which should have a term of ten years, no longer applies to the Wanda Group.