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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tony Xia
Xia Jiantong[1]

Quzhou, China
Alma materHarvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
OccupationEntrepreneur, investor
Years active1999–present
Net worthDecrease £900 million (2019)[2]

Tony Jiantong Xia (Chinese: 夏建统; pinyin: Xià Jiàntǒng) is a Chinese businessman. He is the chairman, CEO and owner of Recon Group. Recon Group owned Aston Villa F.C. from 2016-18, while Xia was chairman.

Early life and education

Xia was born in Quzhou, Zhejiang.[1][3] At the age of 14, he left home to attend university in Beijing.[1][4] He was amongst the first 25 of 1,000 selected to study abroad at Harvard (where he studied landscape design), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a five-month exchange to study at Trinity College, Oxford in 1998–99.[1][5]


In March 1999, Xia founded design company XWHO in Boston, US co-owned by his then-girlfriend and one of his lecturers. The company relocated to Hangzhou, China where Xia started a planning company called Teamax, which he sold for £430 million.[citation needed]

Recon Group

Xia took over Chinese company Recon Group in 2004.[1] The company is based in Beijing and Hangzhou and is the umbrella organisation for Xia's companies which operate in IT, health and agriculture, new energy and smart transportation, engineering and design, financial services, and sports, leisure, and tourism.[6] Xia added he planned to invest in or buy football clubs in India, Spain, the US, and Australia to create a new 'sports sector' within his portfolio.[citation needed]

In February 2017 Recon Group subsidiary Recon Holding agreed to purchase a 51% stake in Millennium Films, a Hollywood film studio specialising in action films including The Expendables series. Previous majority stakeholder and founder Avi Lerner would have remained as Chief Executive Officer with Xia becoming chairman.[7] This deal was later announced to be off in August 2017 due to the Chinese government clamping down on overseas business investments.[8]

On 19 March 2020, Xia announced that the Recon Group had focused attention to their Healthcare and Bioscience division, which was producing and exporting COVID-19 testing kits, hand sanitizer, ventilators, thermometers and PPE to countries around the world that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.[9]

Aston Villa F.C.

On 18 May 2016, it was announced that Recon Group had agreed to buy Aston Villa for a reported £60 million from American businessman Randy Lerner, with the club becoming part of Recon Group's Sports, Leisure and Tourism division. On 14 June 2016, the sale was completed for a reported £76 million after being approved by the Football League. Upon completion of the sale, Xia became chairman of the club.[10][11]

Xia's tenure at Aston Villa featured heavy investment in the club, but problems with moving cash out of China and into the United Kingdom soon hit Xia and Aston Villa hard. On 5 June 2018, Aston Villa missed the deadline for a £4 million tax bill, and the club was faced with a winding up order and the real possibility of going out of business.[12] On 6 June 2018, Xia suspended and later dismissed Aston Villa's CEO Keith Wyness, after he was alleged to have discussed the prospect of Aston Villa's possible administration and subsequent 12-point deduction with third parties without Xia's knowledge.[13] The following day, 7 June 2018, Xia managed to negotiate an agreement with HM Revenue and Customs to pay £500,000 of the £4 million bill, promising to pay the remaining portion at a later date. This saved the club from immediate danger, but Xia confirmed that the club was still in significant financial difficulty.[14] Xia sold his majority stake in the club to NSWE in July 2018, and became a minority stakeholder and co-chairman.[15]

In June 2019, Keith Wyness took Aston Villa to court for constructive dismissal, however this was rejected in court as Wyness was not able to provide enough evidence. Wyness later tried to sue Xia directly, but that was also rejected by a judge who stated that the case would be prejudiced against Xia (living in China at the time), who would be required to travel back to the UK to give evidence at considerable financial and time costs.[16]

On 9 August 2019, documents from Companies House revealed that Recon Group's minority share ownership had been bought out, and Xia no longer had any stake in the club.[17]

Legal Issues

On 18 October 2019, a court in Beijing issued an arrest warrant for Xia. There was a £30,000 reward for information that lead to his arrest. Recon Group, and by extension Xia, were accused of Breach of Contract and Non-Payment of Debt.[18] Xia responded via his Twitter account, claiming that the allegations were a fabrication, created by a "local competitor attempting to cause damage to [him]".[19]

Personal life

Xia has a home in Beijing. He has a wife, Sally, and one child.[20] He became an Aston Villa fan after watching them at Villa Park during his time as a student at Oxford University.[1] Xia played football at college as a striker.[1][6]

Xia describes himself as a self-made millionaire.[1] In 2018, his estimated wealth was £1bn.[21]

Xia uses the English name Tony Xia.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Phillips, Tom (19 May 2016). "Tony Xia hopes revamp will turn Aston Villa into one of world's top three clubs". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ "All About: TONY XIA". Birmingham Mail. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  3. ^ "联合睿康全资收购英超"降班马" 实控人夏建统再施财技". Netsease. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Steve Hollis: Tony Xia takeover will prove "transformational" for Aston Villa". Express & Star. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Aston Villa takeover: Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia agrees £60m deal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b Wollaston, Steve (18 May 2016). "Who is Dr Tony Xia?". birminghammail. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  7. ^ "China's Recon Buys 51% of Avi Lerner's Millennium Films for $100 Million". Variety. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Chinese Firm Abandons $100M Acquisition of Avi Lerner's Millennium Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  9. ^ Rushton, James (19 March 2020). "What former Aston Villa owner Dr Tony Xia claims to be doing to help tackle coronavirus". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Introducing Tony Xia | Latest News | Aston Villa". Archived from the original on 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Club statement: Sale confirmed | Latest News | Aston Villa". Archived from the original on 15 June 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  12. ^ James, Stuart (5 June 2018). "Aston Villa miss £4m tax bill deadline as chief executive is suspended". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Evans, Gregg (6 June 2018). "Keith Wyness investigated over huge bust-up with owner Tony Xia". Birmingham Mail.
  14. ^ "Aston Villa reach agreement with HMRC over £4m tax bill". The Guardian. 7 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Aston Villa: Wes Edens & Nassef Sawiris to make 'significant investment' in club". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  16. ^ Rudge, Dean (5 June 2019). "Here's what happened when Keith Wyness tried to sue Tony Xia". Birmingham Mail.
  17. ^ Maher, Matt (9 August 2019). "Tony Xia leaves Aston Villa with former owner's remaining shareholding wiped out". Express & Star.
  18. ^ Nursey, James (18 October 2019). "Arrest warrant issued for former Aston Villa owner Dr Tony Xia in China". The Mirror. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Dr Tony Xia Twitter Statement". Twitter. 18 October 2019.
  20. ^ Kendrick, Mat (22 May 2016). "What Tony Xia's latest interview tells us about the Aston Villa owner". birminghammail. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  21. ^ Strachan, Ian (25 January 2018). "Rich List 2018: No.7= - Dr Tony Xia". birminghampost. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
This page was last edited on 1 March 2021, at 08:41
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