Li Ka-shing

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The Honourable
Sir Ka-shing Li
李嘉誠爵士
GBM, KBE, JP
Li Ka Shing.jpg
Li Ka-shing in 2010
Born(1928-06-13) 13 June 1928 (age 85)
Chaozhou, Guangdong, Republic of China
EthnicityTeochew
CitizenshipHong Kong
Canada
EducationSchool drop-out[1]
OccupationChairman of the Board of Cheung Kong Holdings, Hutchison Whampoa and Li Ka Shing Foundation
Net worthIncrease US$31 billion (2012)[2]
Spouse(s)Chong Yuet Ming (Deceased)
ChildrenVictor Li
Richard Li
AwardsJustice of the Peace (1981)
LL.D. (1986)
D. SSc (1995)
 
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The Honourable
Sir Ka-shing Li
李嘉誠爵士
GBM, KBE, JP
Li Ka Shing.jpg
Li Ka-shing in 2010
Born(1928-06-13) 13 June 1928 (age 85)
Chaozhou, Guangdong, Republic of China
EthnicityTeochew
CitizenshipHong Kong
Canada
EducationSchool drop-out[1]
OccupationChairman of the Board of Cheung Kong Holdings, Hutchison Whampoa and Li Ka Shing Foundation
Net worthIncrease US$31 billion (2012)[2]
Spouse(s)Chong Yuet Ming (Deceased)
ChildrenVictor Li
Richard Li
AwardsJustice of the Peace (1981)
LL.D. (1986)
D. SSc (1995)
Li Ka-shing
Simplified Chinese李嘉
Traditional Chinese李嘉誠

Sir Ka-shing Li, GBM, KBE,[3] JP (born 13 June 1928 in Chaozhou, China)[4][5] is a Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as of October 7, 2013 he is the richest person in Asia, with a net worth of $28.8 billion. He is the Chairman of the Board of Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL) and Cheung Kong Holdings as of 2008; through them, he is the world's largest operator of container terminals and the world's largest health and beauty retailer.[6]

Considered one of the most powerful figures in Asia, Li was named "Asia's Most Powerful Man, Li Ka-Ching" by Asiaweek in 2001. His companies make up 15% of the market cap of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.[7] Forbes Magazine and the Forbes family honoured Li Ka-shing with the first ever "Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award" on 5 September 2006, in Singapore.[8] In spite of his wealth, Li has cultivated a reputation for leading a no-frills lifestyle, and is known to wear simple black dress shoes and an inexpensive Seiko wristwatch, which is at odds with the house he owns in one of Hong Kong's most expensive precincts, Deep Water Bay in Hong Kong Island. Li is also regarded as one of Asia's most generous philanthropists, donating over US $1.41 billion to date to charity and other various philanthropic causes.[9] Li is often referred to as "Superman" in Hong Kong because of his business prowess.[10][11] Because of his wealth, he is regarded as a celebrity, and even has a wax statue in his likeness (the only non-artist to have one in Hong Kong). See: Li Ka-shing wax statue in Hong Kong

Li Ka-shing was born in Chaozhou in Guangdong province, China, in 1928 to Teochew descendants. Due to his father's death, he was forced to leave school before the age of 15 and found a job in a plastics trading company where he laboured 16 hours a day. By 1950 he was able to start his own company, Cheung Kong Industries. From manufacturing plastics, Li led and developed his company into a leading real estate investment company in Hong Kong that was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972. Cheung Kong expanded by acquiring Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited in 1979 and 1985 respectively.[12]

Business career[edit]

A Harvard Business School article summarises Li's career in the following way:

From his humble beginnings in China as a teacher's son, a refugee, and later as a salesman, Li provides a lesson in integrity and adaptability. Through hard work, and a reputation for remaining true to his internal moral compass, he was able to build a business empire that includes: banking, construction, real estate, plastics, cellular phones, satellite television, cement production, retail outlets (pharmacies and supermarkets), hotels, domestic transportation (sky train), airports, electric power, steel production, ports, and shipping.[13]

A publication by Joe Studwell called Asian Godfathers, however, unveils that the rags-to-riches myth in which many south-east Asian tycoons shroud themselves, applies as little to Li Ka-Shing as it does to other tycoons in the region:

In reality, Li went to school for a couple of years and then started working for a wealthy uncle (from the family that owns Hong Kong's Chung Nam Watch Co.). Subsequently he became part of an important subcategory of tycoons who got ahead, in part, by marrying the boss's daughter.[14]

Li's businesses cover almost every facet of life in Hong Kong, from electricity to telecommunications, from real estate to retail, from shipping to the Internet. The Cheung Kong Group's market capitalisation is HK $647 billion (US $82.9 billion) as of December 2009. (This includes some double counting of the Group's controlling stake in 12 listed companies around the world.) The group operates in 55 countries and employs over 260,000 staff worldwide.

Plastics manufacturing[edit]

In 1950, after learning how to operate a plant, Li founded a plastic manufacturing company in Hong Kong with funds borrowed from family and friends and contacts he cultivated as a salesman. Li avidly read trade publications and business news before deciding to supply the world with high quality plastic flowers at low prices. Li learned the technique of mixing colour with plastics that resemble real flowers. After retooling his shop and hiring the best technicians he could find, he prepared for weeks for the plant visit of a large foreign buyer. Impressed with the quality of Li's plant, the buyer placed a large order. A few years later, Li grew to be the largest supplier of plastic flowers in Asia and made a fortune selling them.[15]

Real estate[edit]

In 1958, unable to renew the lease for his company, Li was forced to purchase and develop a site by himself. An opportunity to acquire land arrived after the 1967 riots were in full swing when many people fled Hong Kong. As a result, property prices plummeted. Li, believing the political crisis would be temporary, and property prices would eventually rise, bought parcels of land at low prices. By 1971, Li officially named his real estate development company Cheung Kong (長江實業), named after Cheung Kong, (Chang Jiang or the Yangtze River) the longest river in China.[citation needed]

Cheung Kong Holdings was publicly listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972. During board meetings, Li stated on a number of occasions his goal of surpassing the Jardines-owned Hongkong Land as a leading developer.[16]

The successful bid by Cheung Kong for development sites above the Central and Admiralty MTR stations in 1977 was the key to challenging Hongkong Land as the premier property developer in Hong Kong. Despite its size, Jardines decided in the 1980s to protect itself from hostile takeover by Li or other outside investors. The company implemented a cross-shareholding structure that was designed to place control in the hands of Britain's Keswick family despite their less than 10% holdings in the group. In 1984, the company also moved its legal domicile from Hong Kong to another British overseas territoryBermuda, in anticipation of the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to Communist China in 1997.[citation needed]

Ports and electricity[edit]

In 1979, Li closed a unique transaction and acquired his current flagship company Hutchison Whampoa Limited from HSBC. The purchase created a massive conglomerate with business interests in multiple industries. The most notable branch of his business is the investment in container port facilities around the world, including in Hong Kong, Canada (Deltaport in Vancouver), China, the United Kingdom, Rotterdam, Panama, Bahamas and many developing countries. In total, Li's businesses control 13% of all container port capacity in the world.[citation needed]

Retail[edit]

A subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, the A.S. Watson Group (ASW) is a retail operator with over 7,800 stores. Its portfolio encompasses retail brands in Europe such as Superdrug (UK), Marionnaud (France), Kruidvat (Benelux countries), and in Asia including health and beauty retailer Watson's store and wine cellars et al., Park'n'Shop supermarkets (and spin-off brands), and Fortress electrical appliance stores. ASW also produces and distributes water products and beverages in the region.

Asset trader[edit]

Hutchison Whampoa group has the reputation of being an astute asset trader. It frequently builds up new businesses and sells them off. Huge profits were obtained in the sale of its interest in Orange to Mannesmann Group in 2001, making a profit of $15.12 billion. In 2006 Li sold 20% of Hutchison's ports business to Singapore rival PSA Corp., making a $3.12 billion profit on a $4 billion deal.[17]

Recently Hutchison Telecommunications, nearly 50 percent owned by Hutchison Whampoa, sold a controlling stake of 67% in Hutchison Essar, a joint venture Mobile operator in India, to Vodafone for $11.1 billion. It had invested roughly $2 billion earlier.[18]

Pyramid structure[edit]

Like many Asian conglomerates, the Li Ka-shing group is structured to retain disproportionate control without incurring the cost of owning an equivalent economic interest. This separation between control and interest is accomplished through pyramid structure, dual-class equities and cross-holdings.[citation needed] While such structures are rarer in the US and UK, they do exist. For instance, Google uses a dual-class structure to give its founders and insiders 10 votes for each class-B share while the general public is offered class-A shares with 1 vote each.

Internet and technology[edit]

Li has also made a foray into the technology business, where his investment and venture capital firm Horizons Ventures is specifically allocated towards backing new internet and technology startup firms, bought a stake in doubleTwist.[19] His other firm, Li Ka Shing Foundation bought a 0.8% stake in social networking website Facebook for $120 million in two separate rounds.[20][21] and invested an estimated $50 million in music streaming service Spotify.[22]

Some time between late 2009 and early 2010, Li Ka-shing led a $15.5 million Series B round of financing for Siri Inc.[23]

In 2011, Horizons Ventures invested in Summly, a website-summarizing app. Notably, the investment made Nick D'Aloisio, Summly's founder, the world's youngest person to receive a venture capital investment at just fifteen years old.[24]

In 2012, Horizons Ventures invested $2.3 million in Wibbitz, a company that provides a text-to-video technology that can automatically convert any article post or feed on the web into a video in a matter of seconds.

In August 2012, he acquired a stake in Ginger Software Incorporated.[25]

In 2013, Horizons Ventures invested in Bitcoin payment company BitPay.[26]

Others[edit]

Besides business through his flagship companies Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa, Li Ka-shing also personally has extensively invested in real estate in Singapore and Canada. He was the single largest shareholder of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), the fifth largest bank in Canada until the sale of his share in 2005 (with all proceedings donated, see below). He is also the majority shareholder of a major energy company, Husky Energy, based in Alberta, Canada.[27]

In January 2005, Li announced plans to sell his $1.2 billion CAD stake in the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, with all proceeds going to private charitable foundations established by Li including the Li Ka Shing Foundation in Hong Kong and the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation based in Toronto.[28]

Li has some real estate interest in Vancouver, specifically in connection with Concord Pacific Developments that developed the old Expo '86 lands in Yaletown[citation needed], as well as Concord Park Place and CityPlace, Toronto in Toronto.

Personal life[edit]

His two sons, Victor Li and Richard Li, are also prominent figures in the Hong Kong business scene. Victor Li works directly with his father as managing director and vice-chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, while Richard Li is the head of PCCW, the largest telecom company in Hong Kong. They are both Canadian citizens.

Li is famously plainly dressed for a Hong Kong tycoon. In the 1990s he wore a $50 timepiece from Citizen Watch Co. and plain ties. He now wears a Seiko.[29]

Even at his age, Li remains physically fit, and says that no matter what time he sleeps at night, he gets up before 6 am each morning to play golf for about an hour and a half. His golfing partner is Hong Kong movie mogul Raymond Chow. Li says that during that time, '...the ninety minutes that I have are mine.' His preferable amount of time for sleep is eight hours. It is also said that he walks on the treadmill for fifteen minutes a day at noon.

Awards and honours[edit]

Politics[edit]

On 4 August 2011 at the interim results announcement for Hutchison Whampoa, Li endorsed Tang for the forthcoming chief executive election and praised him for five full minutes.[12][30] Then Li let slip and said "You all can be just like me, one-person-one-vote (一人一票)."[31] The media then looked at Li in disbelief, and pointed out that regular citizens do not get one-person-one-vote.[32] Li then tried to laugh it off and said "maybe in 2017 they will have one-person-one-vote to choose the chief executive, I probably just said it a little early."[12][33][34]

Charities[edit]

Li Ka Shing Tower in Hong Kong

Press reviews[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Li Ka-shing". Nndb.com. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Li Ka-shing". The World's Billionaires. Forbes. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "SUPPLEMENT No. 1 to Issue 55879", London Gazette, 19 June 2000, p. 24.
  4. ^ "Silobreaker: Biography for Li Ka-Shing". Silobreaker. 26 September 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  5. ^ "Li Ka-shing". Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  6. ^ "The World's Billionaires No. 11 Li Ka-shing". Forbes. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  7. ^ "The Miracle of Asia's Richest Man". Forbes. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Li Ka Shing Foundation :: Li Ka-shing Receives First Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award
  9. ^ Wilhelm, Ian (20 September 2007). "Building a Spirit of Generosity". Philanthropy.com. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Miracle of Asia's Richest Man". Forbes. 24 February 2010. 
  11. ^ Studwell, Joe. "Money and Power in Hong Kong and South-East Asia". Asian Godfathers. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c "李嘉誠替唐英年解畫5分鐘 – 新浪網 – 新聞". News.sina.com.hk. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Li Ka-Shing". Harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  14. ^ Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Atlantic Monthly Press. 2007. 
  15. ^ [1] Forbes.com
  16. ^ Taiwan's Business Weekly, December 2007, Issue 1047, p. 160-161
  17. ^ Tony Munroe (12 February 2007). "Hong Kong "Superman" Li Ka-shing cashes in". Reuters. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  18. ^ Judge, Elizabeth; Oconnor, Ashling (12 February 2007). "Vodafone beats rivals for Hutchison Essar". The Times (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Forbes: Spotify Li Hutchinson Markets Equities Technology August 2009
  20. ^ Li Ka-shing ups Facebook stake to $120 million May 2008
  21. ^ Li Ka-shing foundation buys Facebook stake December 2007
  22. ^ Spotify Li Hutchinson Markets Equities Technology – Forbes August 2009
  23. ^ A Personal Assistant on Your iPhone February 2010
  24. ^ British teenage designer hits jackpot
  25. ^ "Li Ka-Shing Acquires Stake in Language Company Ginger – Bloomberg". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  26. ^ "Peripheral bitcoin services like BitPay safer investment than bitcoin: economist". scmp.com. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "Husky slashes production target". The Globe and Mail. Canada. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  28. ^ lksf[dead link]
  29. ^ Schuman, Michael (24 February 2010). "The Miracle of Asia's Richest Man". Forbes. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  30. ^ "Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing attends a news conference to announce his company's interim results in Hong Kong | View photo – Yahoo!". In.news.yahoo.com. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011. [dead link]
  31. ^ "暗撐唐英年 2017人人可選特首". Hkdailynews.com.hk. Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2011. [dead link]
  32. ^ "成報 www.singpao.com". Singpao.com. Retrieved 5 August 2011. [dead link]
  33. ^ "暗撐唐英年 2017人人可選特首". Hkej.com. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  34. ^ "李嘉誠指普選特首時他同大家一樣是一人一票". Commercial Radio (HK). 5 August 2011. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. 
  35. ^ "PolyU names new tower after Li Ka-shing". Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). 19 September 2001. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "State-of-the-Art Cancer Research Centre Opens in Cambridge Supported by a £5.3 million donation from Hutchison Whampoa". Lksf.org. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  37. ^ Li Ka-shing endows new oncology professorship at Cambridge[dead link]
  38. ^ Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business
  39. ^ About CKGSB
    As of 20:03, Monday February 24, 2014 (UTC)
  40. ^ Donation to go towards Endowment in Support of the Library and SMU Scholarships[dead link]
  41. ^ Sanders, Robert (23 June 2005). "$40 million gift from Li Ka Shing Foundation boosts health science research". UC Berkeley Media Relations. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  42. ^ "Stanford medical school building to promote high-tech learning — with comfort". Inside Stanford Medicine. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 8 Dec 2013. 
  43. ^ "LKY School of Public Policy receives $100 million from business leader". National University of Singapore. 12 March 2007. 
  44. ^ "Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute – St. Michael's Hospital". Stmichaelshospital.com. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  45. ^ "Li Ka-shing donates C$28 million to the University of Alberta". 
  46. ^ "Hong Kong makes voluntary donations for Sichuan earthquake". News.xinhuanet.com. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  47. ^ "Li Ka Shing Gift Supports UCSF Quest for Precision Medicine". UCSF. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 8 Dec 2013. 
  48. ^ Time.com[dead link]
  49. ^ Wilhelm, Ian (20 September 2007). "Chronicle of Philanthropy". Philanthropy.com. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  50. ^ Linebaugh, Kate (2 November 2007). "Wall Street Journal". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  51. ^ Mitchell, Tom (26 October 2007). "Financial Times (UK)". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  52. ^ Lexpansion French press[dead link]

External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Jao Tsung-I
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Succeeded by
Yeung Kwong
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal