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China's Wanda eyes US investment
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Wanda Group, the world's biggest movie theater operator, is on a spending spree in the US. The Chinese firm is looking to buy brand-name hotels and construct malls.

Chinese conglomerate Wanda Dalian made big news in 2012 when it acquired AMC Theaters, North America's second largest movie chain. For 2013, the firm has set its sights significantly higher.

"It's a cut-throat competition in China and you have to get a leg-up to get the attention of people and he's done that. So now he's moving into the European Union and has several deals that are about to be consummated," said Professor Stanley Rosen, who teaches political science at the University of Southern California.

There are also several deals in the United States alone, according to Wanda Dalian CEO Wan Jalian. Wan Jalian recently said that he's in talks to acquire well-known hotel brands and in negotiations to build departments stores, malls and commercial properties in the United States.

Professor Stanley Rosen said: "It doesn't make a lot of sense economically. But Wan Jalian, the CEO, has made it very clear, and he's actually absolutely right, that this purchase alone has put Wanda on the map."

Professor Stanley Rosen says this is just one example of China's effort to promote soft power in America and abroad, sentiment echoed by China's consulate general in the US.

Shu Luomei, commercial consellor for the consulate general of China in Los Angeles, said the transaction occurred "because the Chinese government is carrying out a going-global strategy by encouraging Chinese companies to go global by making overseas investment and establish global brands".

This weekend China tech giant TCL joined the fray by purchasing the naming rights of Grauman's Chinese Theatre for $5 million, and perhaps purchasing some soft power in the process.

Edited by Zhao Qian and Michael Thai