Wang Sicong, son of China’s former richest man, told to pay back US$21.6 million in debts

Linda Lew

Wang Sicong, the son of China’s former “richest man” Wang Jianlin, has been named by a Beijing court as personally liable in a financial dispute involving about 151 million yuan (US$21.6 million) in debts.

A national database for debt recovery listed Wang Sicong, 31, as an “enforced person” following a court case in the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court. The database did not identify the creditors.

The Weibo account of People’s Court Daily, a newspaper affiliated with the Supreme People’s Court, clarified that the son was not on a defaulter list and did not face travel or spending restrictions.

“The court has not yet enforced measures such as spending restrictions against Wang Sicong nor added [him] to the list of defaulters. Therefore, Wang Sicong is only an ‘enforced person’ and not a defaulter,” the Weibo post said.

Wang Sicong rose to prominence as his real estate tycoon father topped Forbes and Bloomberg Chinese rich lists between 2015 and 2017.

He often flaunted his wealth on Weibo, a Chinese social media network, where he has almost 44 million followers.

In 2015, Wang Sicong bought two Apple Watches for his dog Coco, and posted a photo online of the malamute wearing the devices on her paws.

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Zhang Weiwei, a lawyer at Guangdong Xinggong Law Firm, said that being an “enforced person” meant Wang Sicong was personally liable for the 151 million yuan.

If he did not repay the debt within a certain time, the court could seize his assets, Zhang said. And if that was not enough to cover the debt, then Wang would go on a list for defaulters, which would entail travel and spending restrictions.

“From a business perspective, his reputation would be affected negatively by this case. He is now a debtor and the media has reported widely about this,” Zhang said.

Wang Sicong has been involved in various ventures, starting his own video streaming company PandaTV and investment firm Prometheus Capital. According to Tianyancha, a Chinese company register, Wang is the legal representative of 20 companies and owns stock in 32 firms.

But PandaTV filed for bankruptcy last year due to cash flow problems and Prometheus Capital’s stock was frozen by a court in Shanghai in October for three years, Tianyancha records show.

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Representatives from Beijing Prometheus Capital, wholly owned by Wang Sicong, declined to comment on Friday.

Wang has not commented on the case and has restricted public access to his posts on Weibo.

On Monday, Luo Yonghao, founder of Chinese mobile phone company Smartisan, was added to a defaulters list for failing to pay debts of about 600 million yuan.

As a result, Luo cannot fly or use the high-speed rail system. He also cannot buy luxury goods or real estate.

Luo apologised online and promised to pay his debts.

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