Advertising

Could Wolves' owner Fosun be one of the wealthiest in English football?

By Simon Penfold | Wolverhampton | Business | Published: | Last Updated:

Wolves fans can put in a firm bid for bragging rights over having the wealthiest owners in English football, after Chinese conglomerate Fosun revealed it was now worth a mind-boggling £60 billion.

Guo Guangchang, chairman of Wolves' Chinese owner Fosun

That's bigger than the annual Gross Domestic Product of a small European country – say Luxembourg, Croatia or Slovakia.

Fosun founder and chairman Guo Guangchang has hailed 2017 as the group's "strongest financial year ever" as profits soared to £1.5 billion.

The huge international business, which ranges from industry and pharmaceuticals to holidays and insurance, has seen its assets grow to £60 billion while revenue across all its businesses rose to £10bn from £8.5bn a year ago.

Since buying Wolverhampton Wanderers for £30 million in July 2016, Fosun has invested tens of millions of pounds into the club.

With eight games of the season to go Wolves are edging closer to promotion, which would be a year ahead of Fosun’s initial three-year plan to get into the Premier League.

But Wolves' impressive progress so far doesn't even rate a name check in Fosun's summary of its last year, which marked its 25th anniversary.

Instead, Mr Guo was celebrating Fosun's rise from a college student startup with only less than £4,350 of initial capital, to a Forbes Global Top 500 international industry group making over £1.5 billion of profit and managing more than £60.7bn in total assets.

From German and Portuguese banks and international insurance companies to China's Tsingtao Brewery, the Cirque du Soleil theatre group and French luxury holidays company Club Med it has business interests around the world, including healthcare and pharmaceuticals. It also owns the famous Silver Cross pram company.

Advertising

In February it opened a £1bn luxury resort in the southern seaside city of Sanya, an island destination also known as “China's Hawaii”.

It has even launched its own customer loyalty club, called Youle, across its businesses.

Mr Guo also expressed his confidence in China's economy – a wise move in a company where the Communist party is dominant and the National People's Congress recently voted overwhelmingly to change the consitution and abolish the two-term limit on China's president, allowing leader Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond 2023.

Mr Guo said: "2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, and where China is now the world’s second largest economy with a healthier, stable, sustainable and high-quality economic growth. As a result, Chinese companies, including Fosun, are also getting stronger and can now participate in the commercial “World Cup”. For this, we are extremely grateful."

Advertising

And he argued that: "China has the single largest consumer market in the world with an expected middle class of 400 million people in the near future, which is unprecedented in the history of mankind.

"I believe that demand in China will certainly flourish, and enterprises will enjoy a variety of excellent opportunities. For example, in just eight years, China has become the largest source of customers for Club Med."

Currently, he said, Fosun served 35 million families around the world; "If we have to set a goal for our mission, I hope to serve a billion families around the world."

Where Wolverhampton Wanderers fits into that remains to be seen.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News