Chinese tycoon dies from fall in China

Chinese billionaire businessman 57 dies in fall during trip to France

HNA chairman Wang Jian died after a fall during a trip to France

General view of stone steps and a wall in Bonnieux, near Avignon, France, July 4, 2018, the day after Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co-Chairman Wang Jian died during a business trip in what local police said appeared to be an accidental fall from a wall. Also in attendance were executives at Glencore Plc, which hours later announced the US$775 million sale of a majority stake in its oil storage and logistics business to HNA.

According to HNA documents, Wang and Chen each held around 15% in HNA as the biggest individual shareholders.

French police said Mr Wang fell some 15m off a wall, and they were not treating his death as suspicious.

He was near the village's upper church when he climbed onto a parapet at about 11:30 (09:30 GMT) to take pictures of the "superb panorama" offered by the Cedres forest, the site says.

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

HNA also holds a 19 per cent stake in Virgin Australia Holdings, who operate the popular Virgin Australia airlines.

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"HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr. Wang's family and many friends", HNA's board and management team said in a statement. Setting up the finance unit in Hong Kong and pushing into new media were his ideas, the people said. HNA ranked 170th on the list previous year, rising 183 spots.

Wang obtained an undergraduate degree in Aviation Management from Civil Aviation University of China in 1983, and a master's degree in business administration from Holland Maastricht School of Management in 1995, according to HNA.

HNA Group started as a small provincial airline servicing China's Hainan Province but has expanded quickly in recent years under the leadership of Wang and co-founder Chen Feng.

But HNA came under pressure previous year as Beijing cracked down on the risky debt-fueled financing that enabled its expansion.

Concerns about HNA's financial situation mounted in the ensuing months amid government scrutiny over the country's most high-profile acquirers of foreign assets. Under pressure from Beijing, HNA has since sold off many of those assets to slash debt. Last year, regulators in New Zealand blocked HNA from purchasing a auto loan company out of concern over the company's financial stability.

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