Chairman of China’s HNA Group Dies in Accident in France

A Chinese national flag flutters against the HNA Group office building in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — The co-chairman of HNA Group, a conglomerate that operates China’s fourth-largest airline and finance, logistics and other businesses around the world, died in an accident while on a business trip in France, the company said Wednesday.

Wang Jian, a co-founder of the company, suffered “severe injuries” in a fall in Provence in southern France and died Tuesday at age 57, said an HNA Group statement. It gave no other details.

Regional French media outlet France Bleu said Wang fell a dozen or so yards while taking photos on a high wall in Bonnieux, a town in a region famed for its panoramic views.

Launched in 1993 on the southern island of Hainan, HNA expanded into finance, hotels, logistics and other businesses in a multibillion-dollar global acquisition spree.

More recently, HNA has been selling some assets as Chinese regulators tighten lending controls and press companies to rein in debt.

Wang graduated from the Civil Aviation University of China and received an MBA from the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands, according to his company.

HNA agreed last year to acquire a hedge fund operated by Anthony Scaramucci, an aide to U.S. President Donald Trump. That never received regulatory approval and the two sides called off the deal in April.

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