Just under one year after resigning as head of the development giant that he founded, former China Vanke chairman Wang Shi has resurfaced as co-chairman of a Changsha-based builder that once hoped to construct China’s tallest building, according to a report by the official China News Service.
Wang’s new role with Broad Group was announced on Friday in Beijing, where the 67-year-old celebrity entrepreneur appeared alongside Broad’s president, Zhang Yue, at a forum organised by the industrial group turned prefabricated building developer.
“My interaction with Zhang Yue started due to our shared ideas on environment protection,” Wang said in an address to the conference attendees. He added that, “It is a company that is responsible for itself, responsible to family members, responsible to customers, and responsible to suppliers.”
Wang Opens the Door for Vanke to Work With Broad Group
Before gaining notoriety from its plan to build Sky City, an 838-metre tall building in the outskirts of Changsha, Broad Group rose to prominence as a manufacturer of environmentally friendly non-electric absorption chillers to power air conditioning systems that are powered by natural gas and waste heat.
Wang indicated that there are a number of companies in Shenzhen, where Vanke is based, that have an interest in applying environmentally-friendly technology, and disclosed that,“China Vanke and Broad Group will strengthen their cooperation in the future.”
Bouncing Back From Failed Plan for China’s Tallest Building
Broad caught the world’s attention in 2013 when the group’s Broad Sustainable Building subsidiary, which specialises in prefabricated construction, began work on Sky City, a 220 floor tower that would be second tallest in the world after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and 206 metres taller than the Shanghai Tower.
The project stood out not only for its location in a suburban area of a second-tier city in Hunan province, but also for its ambitious schedule, with Broad initially announcing that it would complete the project in 90 days.
The 1.2 million square metre design called for a 30-storey hotel, housing for up to 17,000 people and 17 helipads. The project faltered after local government officials waffled on necessary approvals following detailed inquiries from central authorities in Beijing.
Prior to starting work on Sky City, Broad Sustainable Building had completed a 30-storey hotel project in only 15 days and a three-storey building in only nine days. In 2015, Broad bounced back to build the 57-storey “Mini Sky City.” which it is said to have completed in just 19 days.
Wang Shi’s new role with Broad could mark a comeback for the property mogul, who left soon after China Vanke successfully fended off a takeover attempt by Shenzhen-based investment group Baoneng. That hostile takeover ended with a company belonging to the Shenzhen city government taking a controlling stake in Vanke, and Wang departing the firm soon thereafter.