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Chinese billionaire warns Donald Trump could cost U.S. 20,000 jobs

Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Wanda Group, speaks during an interview in Beijing, China, August 23, 2016.
Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Wanda Group, speaks during an interview in Beijing, China, August 23, 2016. Reuters/Thomas Peter

Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin warned President-elect Donald Trump that nearly 20,000 U.S. jobs could be at risk if investment in China is mishandled.

Wang, chairman of China’s Wanda group, said that he had spoken to MPAA chairman Chris Dodd asking him to pass on a message to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

“I’ve invested $10 billion in the U.S. employing over 20,000 people. If something goes wrong these 20,000 people might be out of jobs,” he said.

Wang was speaking after giving a lengthy speech on the internationalization of Chinese culture and the problems that it faces in a world dominated by Western influences.

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In his election campaign, Trump repeatedly railed against China, accusing it of costing American jobs. He also accused China of manipulating its currency to make its goods and services cheaper abroad.

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Wanda’s acquisitions of AMC and Legendary Entertainment, and the proposed acquisitions of Dick Clark Productions and Carmike (via AMC) have raised hackles in the U.S. In the past weeks Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer has added his voice to calls in Congress for a probe into Chinese acquisitions in the Hollywood. Schumer has raised the prospect that takeovers by private companies, such as Wanda, are orchestrated by China’s Communist government.

“This shows that Wanda has grown more influential in the U.S. Otherwise (the congressmen) would not have named us.”

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Despite that, Wang said that Wanda’s moves into Hollywood do not guarantee that Chinese culture will be more widely viewed or understood.

“Can movies from China rely on the distribution channels of these six (Hollywood major) companies to become more international? The answer is no.”

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“To influence the global influence of Chinese culture we need to firmly establish our own means of transmission. We also need to establish a strong globally-recognized brand. Just having a method of distribution is not enough.,” he said.

The speech came only days ahead of the China release of “The Great Wall,” the $150 million monster movies that is the biggest China-U.S. co-production to date. It was produced by Legendary, the high profile U.S. production company that Wanda acquired earlier this year for up to $3.5 billion.

“Some movies are filmed in China and then the premiere is in Beijing or Shanghai. These so-called international premieres are quite misleading as they are clearly not global events,” Wang said.