China’s richest man has bought a ten bedroom mansion on London’s most exclusive “billionaire’s row” street in a spectacular £80 million deal.
Property and “Chollywood” movie tycoon Wang Jianlin, whose wealth is estimated at more than £20 billion, took a long lease from the Crown Estate on the residence at 15A Kensington Palace Gardens, according to property market sources.
The former Chinese army commander is expected to spends tens of millions pounds more – one estimate suggested as much as £50 million – on a lavish refurbishment of the mid-Victorian property.
Mr Wang, who chairs the Dalian Wanda property group that is building the One Nine Elms luxury flats development in Vauxhall, will have Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the Norwegian embassy as his immediate neighbours when he moves into the property.
Other owners and residents on Europe’s most exclusive street include Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, Foxtons founder Jon Hunt and the French ambassador Sylvie Bermann.
The private road, which runs next to Kensington Palace, the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is considered one of the most secure in London with a round the clock armed police presence at both ends.
It is also the location for the Russian and Israeli embassies.
The 20,000 sq ft home was previously occupied by the Ukraine-born businessman Leonid Blavatnik, who rented it during lengthy works on his house opposite.
It is the latest major investment in Britain by the billionaire, who overtook online retailer Alibaba founder Jack Ma to become China’s richest man earlier this year.
As well as the £700 million One Nine Elms scheme, which includes a 56 storey residential skyscraper, Mr Wang owns the Dorset-based Sunseeker luxury motor yacht business.
It was reported this year that he has been in talks to buy the Tour de France as part of a bid to build one of the world’s biggest sports businesses.
Mr Wang already owns a 20 per cent stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid, which he bought for for £32 million in April.
In 2013 he hosted a star-studded red carpet event attended by Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Travolta and Leonardo DiCaprio top launch a £5 billion Chinese rival to Hollywood – dubbed Chollywood – in the northeastern city of Qingdao.
His only son Wang Sicong, who was educated at Winchester College and University College London, attracted criticism earlier this year when he revealed he had bought two £800 Apple Watches for his dog Wang Keke,
Top end property buyer Guiliana La Pera is believed to have acted for Mr Wang in finding the five storey property, which is protected by high gates and has eight bathrooms and a swimming pool in the basement.
The sale could trigger one of the biggest stamp duty bills in British history of more than £9.5 million.
The house was first sold in 1856 for just £7,000 to Kensington businessman Peter Carthew and was occupied by the the Nigerian High Commissioner in the Sixties and Seventies.
It last came on the market in 1999 when the Crown Estate, which owns the freehold to all the properties on the half mile long street, asked for £35 million, but it did not sell.
The Crown Estate, which provides the income for The Queen from its profits, then decided to let it before offering a 125 year lease earlier this year.
The Crown Estate, Ms La Pera and a spokesman for Dalian Wanda declined to comment.