Meet the Chinese Tycoon Who Is Buying the New Year's Countdown Show

PHOTO: Confetti fills the air as celebrants in Times Square welcomed 2016 on New Years eve.PlayABC via Getty Images
WATCH Ryan Seacrest Previews 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve'

Your favorite award shows and the New Year’s Eve countdown show just got a little more Wanda-ful.

That’s because the Dalian Wanda Group, a major Chinese conglomerate, is paying $1 billion to buy Dick Clark Productions.

The takeover, which is not yet complete, sees Dalian Wanda take ownership of the firm behind productions like the Billboard Music Awards, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards and the famous ball-drop program on New Year’s Eve.

In announcing the deal to buy Dick Clark Productions, Dalian Wanda said that the production company’s “management will remain in its entirety,” and said it expected “DCP’s revenue and profit will show strong increases year by year.”

At the helm of the company is its namesake chairman, Wang Jianlin, believed to be among the richest -- if not the richest -- men in China.

What’s known about Wang? And what could this acquisition mean for your favorite entertainment? Here's what you need to know:

From Bullets to Business

Perhaps the Economist phrased it best in a recent profile of Wang, writing: “Wang Jianlin started life with a red spoon in his mouth.”

The British newspaper said that the influence of Wang’s father, a Communist military hero who was an ally of Mao Zedong, allowed the young Wang to enlist in the Army at 15 and thus steer clear of the worst aspects of China’s oft-violent Cultural Revolution.

But the businessman traded bullets for business, and today enjoys incredible success.

PHOTO: Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, speaks at a business event at the Bing theatre in Los Angeles, Calif., October 17, 2016. Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS
Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, speaks at a business event at the Bing theatre in Los Angeles, Calif., October 17, 2016.

According to the Economist’s 2015 profile, Dalian Wanda is the biggest private property developer in China.

The company also has a taste for media and entertainment companies.

Media Magnate

Dalian Wanda owns AMC Theatres -- one of the U.S.’s biggest cinema chains, which says it will serve some 200 million movie watchers at 380 projection houses across the U.S. this year.

The Chinese firm paid $3.5 billion in January for Legendary Entertainment, the production house behind crowd-pleasers like "Interstellar," "Jurassic World," "The Hangover," "Steve Jobs" and "Straight Outta Compton."

And in September, Dalian Wanda entered into a partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, which an Associated Press reporter wrote at the time would see it “invest in Sony productions and strive to highlight China in those films.”

A statement released by the company cheering the partnership read, according to The AP report: “The alliance will help strengthen Wanda's power to influence the global film industry, and set a good precedent for Chinese film producers in their international investment."

Foreign -- especially Chinese -- acquisitions of U.S. firms have drawn the ire of some legislators on Capitol Hill. In mid-September, a group of 16 lawmakers asked the Government Accountability Office to review the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is charged with keeping tabs on the national security consequences of foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses.

Among other questions, the letter asks the comptroller general of the GAO: “Should the definition of national security be broadened to address concerns about propaganda and control of the media and ‘soft power’ institutions?”

According to The New York Times, the GAO responded a few days later, saying it would review the authority of the committee.

The Associated Press and ABC News’ Alex Hosenball contributed to this report.

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