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Asia's richest man buys 60 aircraft in $2.5 billion deals
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Nov 05, 2014


China film mogul buys van Gogh masterpiece for $62m: report
Beijing (AFP) Nov 05, 2014 - One of China's richest men has bought a Vincent van Gogh masterpiece for nearly $62 million, reports said Wednesday, becoming the latest tycoon to make an eyebrow-raising art purchase.

Wang Zhongjun, chairman of the high-powered Huayi Brothers film studio, bought van Gogh's 1890 painting "Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies" Tuesday for $61.8 million, according to Shanghai-based news site The Paper.

The painting, which was auctioned by Sotheby's in New York, had been valued at $30 to $50 million, the report said.

A Huayi Brothers representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

The purchase makes Wang the latest wealthy Chinese businessman to make a splash on the international art scene.

Last year, tycoon Wang Jianlin's Wanda Group bought the 1950 Pablo Picasso painting "Claude and Paloma" for $28 million, more than double the high estimate of $12 million.

At the time, the company came under fire for the extravagant purchase, with some Chinese Internet users questioning Wang's patriotism and the painting's value.

Wang Zhongjun came under similar criticism on Wednesday.

"One madman buying a painting by another madman," one user wrote on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

"This is how he spends all the investors' money? What a waste," wrote another.

A property flagship led by Asia's richest tycoon Li Ka-shing said on Wednesday it plans to buy up to 60 passenger jets in a series of transactions that amount to more than $2.5 billion.

The Hong Kong businessman made his first major foray into the aviation industry in August by announcing plans to buy into Irish aircraft leasing group AWAS, and the new purchases expand his investments into a field that can yield stable and long-term cash flow, analysts have said.

A filing written by Cheung Kong Holdings for the southern Chinese city's Stock Exchange late Tuesday said that the plan was to buy the Boeing and Airbus aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services Ltd, BOC Aviation Pte, Jackson Square Aviation, LLC, and MC Aviation Partners Inc.

The company confirmed Wednesday that the total number of jets was around 60.

The deals are worth a total of more than $2.52 billion, Dow Jones Newswire reported.

Li is reaching out to the sector as premium airlines cut costs amid fierce competition from a growing number of budget carriers in Asia.

Last year, China lifted a six-year ban on creating private airlines, helping fuel demand for aircraft.

The deals also include acquisitions worth $800 million made through a joint venture formed with a subsidiary of Japanese Mitsubishi Corp, Dow Jones reported.

Li commands a vast empire through Cheung Kong Holdings and conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, with global assets in property, telecoms, utilities, ports and retail.

In August, the property flagship announced plans to purchase Dublin-based AWAS in a $5 billion deal that involve 100 aircraft.

-- Dow Jones Newswire contributed to the report --

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