Chinese Tycoon Dies After Falling Off A Wall In France

A HNA Group logo is seen on the building of HNA Plaza in Beijing

A HNA Group logo is seen on the building of HNA Plaza in Beijing

The company is now in the process of selling down some of its global assets in a bid to reduce its domestic debt built up during a rapid expansion in recent years.

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

Wang's death couldn't have come at a worse time, said Brock Silvers, founder and managing director of Kaiyuan Capital, a Shanghai-based investment advisory firm.

HNA is best known as the owner of Hainan Airlines Co and for holding stakes in Deutsche Bank AG and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

"HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr Wang's family and many friends", HNA's board and management team said in a statement.

Local police officer Hubert Meriaux also said that "witness accounts point to a likely accident" in the case: "He stood on the edge of a sharp drop to get his family to take a picture of him and fell".

Wang's sudden death comes as HNA, one of China's most indebted companies, is undertaking an urgent restructuring.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

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Jian, who was 57 years old, died in an accident, the company said.

In a letter internally distributed at HNA earlier this year, Wang blamed the company's hardships on "major conspiracy" against the ruling Communist Party and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, by foreign and domestic "reactionary forces", Reuters said.

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

Chinese group HNA Chairman Wang Jian and Pierre et Vacances Chairman Gerard Bremond shake hands during a signing ceremony in Paris on July 4, 2016.

Mr Wang owned about 15 per cent of HNA, according to the group's last update of its ownership structure.

Wang graduated from the Civil Aviation University of China with a degree in airline management and held an MBA from the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands.

Following its now-infamous acquisition spree, the group's financial struggles began to emerge in the middle of a year ago, when the Chinese government began scrutinizing high-profile acquirers such as HNA, Dalian Wanda Group Co. and Anbang Insurance Group Co.

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