The $53 billion Chinese conglomerate already owns a company near you.
On a warm summer night in Paris, hundreds of executives, bankers, diplomats, and French officials walk the red carpet snaking up the steps of the Petit Palais museum—a sumptuous Beaux Arts building in the heart of the French capital, with sculptures and paintings set around a manicured garden. Under 200-year-old frescoes, the guests dine on lobster, duck, and white-chocolate mousse, prepared by a top French chef, washed down with grand cru Bordeaux, and topped off with entertainment from the Peking Opera. Three large red letters affixed to the ornate gates offer a clue about who’s throwing the invitation-only affair: HNA.
To the hundreds of people passing by, the name HNA probably means nothing. But to the business world at large, the presence of those three letters is another sign—if any is needed—that a little-known Chinese conglomerate with provincial roots has, in just a few years, transformed into a powerful global player with tentacles stretching across the planet.