Business SinoBeat

Son of Asia’s richest man, China’s ‘No.1 eligible bachelor’, talks to BBC about freedom

Chinese real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin’s son Wang Sicong, 27, has dominated talks on mainland social media again after he was featured in a BBC series and asked to share his thoughts on freedom.

In the BBC Series, Secrets in China, British TV presenter Billie JD Porter asked Wang, “Do you think the lack of freedom here leads to people being unhappy?”

Wang, dubbed by Chinese netizens as the country’s No.1 eligible bachelor, or “the people’s husband,” replied: “I think at some point you just accept it.”

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Wang Sicong talks to BBC’s Billie JD Porter. Photo: BBC Three

The only son of Asia’s richest man was discussing Chinese people’s video games obsession with Porter when the question of freedom came up.

Wang said video games is a way to release pressure for many young people and escape from their “mundane” lives. Asked if there’s any way to escape the mainstream system in China, Wang said: “Well, I think escaping the system would be suicide… There is really no way, unless you are extremely confident and extremely stupid. There is really no way of succeeding outside the system.”

The controversial Chinese celebrity went on to say people in China often feel the pressure to conform to mainstream standards set by the state. “If your ideals are not mainstream, then you are wrong.”

Besides attention on his wealth, Wang has come under the spotlight many times before thanks to his flamboyant style and online bickering with netizens and celebrities.

In May, Wang shared pictures of his dog wearing two Apple Watches on China’s microblogging site Weibo, drawing criticism home and abroad. The two rose gold Apple Watches were said to be worth RMB176,000 (HK$213,400).

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Wang Sicong’s dog wearing two Apple Watches. Photo: Wang Sicong via Weibo.

The dog, which has its own Weibo page, also “showed off” his pedicure treatments and US dollars.

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Wang Sicong’s dog surrounded by money. Photo: Wang Sicong via Weibo.

In March, Wang was in a war of words with Chinese actresses Fan Bingbing and Zhang Xinyu after he mocked them for being “stars on the red carpet,” but knowing nothing about acting.

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Wang Sicong in Macau. Photo: Wang Sicong via Weibo.

Last year, Wang famously said in an interview: “I don’t care if people are rich when I make friends with them. They won’t be richer than me anyway.”

Wang’s father Wang Jianlin recently trumped Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing to be Asia’s richest man and the richest Chinese person on earth. According to Forbes, Wang Jianlin’s net worth is now US$32.7 billion (HK$253 billion) after he lost billions in the recent Chinese stock market crash. Meanwhile, Li’s net worth is estimated to be US$26.6 billion (HK$206 billion).

Wang Jianlin owns Dalian Wanda Group, a parent company for China’s biggest private real state developer and the world’s largest cinema chains operator.

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Wang Sicong’s father Wang Jianlin. Photo: World Economic Forum.

In 2009, the elder Wang gave his son RMB500 million (HK$606 million) to set up a private equity fund. Wang Sicong said earlier this month he will invest in the entertainment industry.

Son of Asia's richest man, China's 'No.1 eligible bachelor', talks to BBC about freedom