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Chinese HNA Group Co-Chairman Wang Jian died during a business trip in France

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co-Chairman Wang Jian, 57,  died during a business trip in France on July 3. Wang fell 15 meters off a wall in the village of Bonnieux, near Avignon, in the Provence region, a picturesque area popular with tourists, while posing for a photograph.

He had climbed on a high parapet. Rescue services in the region were unable to revive him. Police are not treating his death as suspicious. Wang held a 15 percent stake in HNA. The group is controlled by a New York-based foundation and a China-based charity that together hold 52 percent of HNA shares. An aviation-to-financial services conglomerate that counts Hainan Airlines Co as its core asset. The company is currently in the process of selling down some of its international assets in a bid to reduce its domestic debt built up during a rapid expansion in recent years.

Provence

HNA’s recent sales include holdings in companies such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc, Park Hotels & Resorts and Spain’s NH Hotels. After all, a strange coincidence: just last month, HNA had to deny rumours that the other co-founder Chen Feng  had died. Now, HNA's dollar bonds fell after the company confirmed the news of Wang Jiang death. “Wang Jian’s death will definitely bring short-term shocks to HNA’s business development,” said Liu Feng, director of the Hainan Normal University Free Trade Port Research Center. “But the long-term impact on the group will be limited.”

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