The Waldorf Astoria
This classic Art Deco landmark was designed by architects Schultze and Weaver and completed in 1931, and is considered one of the world’s most prestigious and best known hotels. Up until 2015, it was owned by Conrad Hilton, the famous American hotelier and the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain, who then sold it to then unknown Chinese holding company called Anbang for a hefty price tag of $1.95 billion.
Based in Beijing, the Anbang Insurance Group was founded by Wu Xiaohui in 2004 as a regional car insurance company but would grow to deal with insurance, banking, and financial services, with assets estimated to be over $300 billion today. In 2018, Wu Xiaohui would be jailed for 18 years after he was found guilty of fraud and embezzlement.
The Financial Times has described Anbang as “one of China’s most politically connected companies.” Although a relative newcomer to the American market, they certainly turned heads when they purchased this iconic American hotel. A mystery still remains, however, since the incarceration of their founder, no one outside of China knows who now makes up the leadership of this powerful and influential company.