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China's HNA Group said on Wednesday (Jul 4) that Wang Jian, a chairman and co-founder, died during a business trip in France on Tuesday after a serious injury caused by a fall.

Wang fell 50ft according to the police chief.

HNA Group's logistics service unit CWT International Ltd dropped 5.5 percent to the lowest since April past year, Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management Group slid 3.7 percent, and HNA Technology was down 2.4 percent. With the expansion of its activities in 1998 established the HNA Group.

Wang was one of 12 stockholders of the HNA Group.

According to police lieutenant-colonel Hubert Meriaux the death was an accident.

Wang, a former CEO of HNA, built his career in the aviation industry, according to his official biography.

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And this week, HNA canceled its A$280 million ($207 million) debt-funded offer to buy the refrigerated trucking arm of Australia's Automotive Holdings Group Ltd.

However, the deal had looked increasingly uncertain because of liquidity problems that have seen HNA shed more than $20 billion of assets to pay down debt.

In a statement, the Chinese company said: "the co-Founder of HNA Group, Chairman of the Board of Directors during a working trip to France suddenly fell and was seriously injured". HNA ranked 170th on the list previous year, rising 183 spots. No additional details were divulged by HNA.

"Wang's passing will mark the end of an era", said Corrine Png, CEO at Crucial Perspective, a Singapore-based research firm focused on transportation.

Following its now-infamous acquisition spree, the group's financial struggles began to emerge in the middle of a year ago, when the Chinese government began scrutinizing high-profile acquirers such as HNA, Dalian Wanda Group Co. and Anbang Insurance Group Co. It already has sold a more than $1 billion stake in an affiliated timeshare company, Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. Growing into a multinational giant within two decades, the conglomerate now owns assets in numerous industries including aviation, real estate, financial services, tourism, and logistics.

However, HNA started to sell large chunks of its global interests in the wake of a crackdown by Chinese authorities on debt-fuelled financing. In June, HNA sold a bond in China after a rare five-month drought, signaling a crucial source of funding for the conglomerate may be opening up.


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