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30 Most Important Things Everyone Should Know About Li Ka-shing

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Sir Li Ka-shing, nicknamed ‘Superman’ for his deal making prowess, is the world's leading port investor, developer, and operator of the largest health and beauty retailer in Asia as well as Europe. Here are some very interesting facts about the business magnate:

  1. Li is one of Hong Kong’s leading multi-national conglomerates. His business involves diverse fields such as plastics, banking, construction, real estate, ports, electricity, cellular phones, hotels, telecommunication, internet, airports, steel production, and cement production.
  2. He was born Li Ka-shing, on June 13, 1928, in Chao’an, Chaozhou, Goangdong, China, to Zhuang Bi-qin and Li Yun-jing. He was the eldest of three children to his parents.
  3. He and his family fled China, after the Japanese invasion in 1940. He was forced to take up job at a very young age of 15, when his father died of tuberculosis.
  4. Li dropped out of school and took up at a plastic trading company as a salesman, selling plastic watchbands and belts. He would often put in 16 hours a day and proved to be a capable salesman.
  5. In 1950 he started a plastic manufacturing company, selling plastic flowers world over at a lower price and made a fortune.
  6. Throughout the 1950s his business thrived and he was looking for an opportunity to expand and in 1958, he purchased his first factory. This was the first of his many real estate investments.
  7. The political situation following 1967 riots, forced the residents to flee Hong Kong and the property price dropped. Li bought land from fleeing residents at a low price and shifted his focus from plastics to property development.
  8. In 1971, he officially named his real estate company ‘Cheung Kong,’ and got it listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the following year.
  9. His company became one of the largest developers in Hong Kong with long history of property development. About one in twelve of the private residences in Hong Kong were developed by his company.
  10. On September 25, 1979, Li’s Cheung Kong, acquired HSBC’S, Stakes in ‘Hutchison Whampoa,’ which increased his control to 12 % of the world container port facilities in Hong Kong, Canada, China, the United Kingdom, Rotterdam, Panama, Bahamas and other developing countries.
  11. With 49.97% stake in Hutchison Whampoa, Li merged both the company on March 18, 2015, and renamed it as CK Hutchison Holdings Limited with its base in Cayman Islands.
  12. Li founded ‘Shantou University’ near his hometown in Guangdong in 1981 and donated an estimated $ 150 million to build its campus.
  13. According to ChinaOnline.com, he advised the late Deng Xiaoping during the Sino-British talks to pave way for 1984 Joint Declaration on Hong Kong’s future. He also served on the committee that drafted Hong Kong’s constitution.
  14. His affinity to Beijing helped him reach the mainland government for help to nab Cheung Tzekung, who kidnapped his son, Victor for ransom. Li paid HK$ 1 billion but Cheung was nabbed and executed in 1988.
  15. In November 2017, Li sold ‘The Center,’ the fifth tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, at a record price of $5.15 billion. It is the world’s most expensive real estate transaction for a single building to date.
  16. Li’s CK Hutchison group has a reputation of being astute asset trader. It builds up new businesses and sells them off to garner huge profit. Li’s crowning deal was sale of its Orange cell phone business in Europe at a profit of $ 15.12 billion in 1999.
  17. In 2006, he sold 20% of Hutchison’s ports business to PSA Corporation, Singapore and made profit of $ 3.12 billion on $ 4 billion deal. Similarly he sold 67% controlling stake in Hutchison Essar, a joint venture Mobile operator in India, to Vodafone for $ 11.1 billion.
  18. It is said that, it would be difficult to spend a day in Hong Kong without enriching the Li’s family. Li’s Hong Kong Electric is one of two power utilities in the city, the Cheung Kong is the biggest residential developer, the ParknShop supermarket chain, is the city’s biggest cell phone company and with the city’s dominant fixed line carrier, the PCCW Ltd., the cliché is amply justified.
  19. Li also made a foray into the information technology business, when his ‘Horizons Ventures,’ bought a stake in ‘double twist,’ and his ‘Li Ka Shing Foundation,’ bought a 0.8% stake in ‘Facebook.’
  20. He expanded his horizon with further investment in ‘Summly,’ a website-summarizing app. In 2011. Horizons Venture invested $ 2.3 million in the ‘Wibbitz, ’a text-to-video technology convert company and in August that year he acquired a stake in the ‘Ginger Software Incorporated.’
  21. Apart from Hong Kong, he has invested extensively in Canada and Singapore. He is the majority shareholder of Husky Energy in Alberta, Canada and was the single largest shareholder of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce before selling his $ 1.2 billion CAD stake to charitable foundation.
  22. Li was the non-executive director of ‘The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and took over as its Deputy Chairman in 1985. He was also Deputy Chairman of HSBC Holdings from 1991-92.
  23. A claim was lodged in 2013 by the ‘Australian Tax Office’ relating to unpaid tax, penalties and interest amounting to A$ 370 million, concerning ‘SA Power Networks’ and ‘Victoria Power Network,’ was resolved in 2015, without any penalty.
  24. On March 16, 2018, after almost 70 long years in helm, Li finally decided to pass on his $ 100 billion empire to his elder son Victor Li.
  25. Li is a widower. His wife Chong Yuet Ming, whom he married in 1963, died in 1990. He has two sons, Victor Li and Richard Li. Both his sons are Canadian citizens.
  26. He is known for his adherence to moral value with simple lifestyle. He dresses up in plain clothes and wears $500 HKD Citizen Watch. However he owns a luxurious house in Hong Kong‘s most expensive precincts, Deep Water Bay in Hong Kong Island.
  27. On the 19th day of the 2014 Hong Kong protest, Li recognized that student’s voices had been heard by Beijing and urged them to go home ‘to avoid any regret.’ He was criticized by Xinhua for being ambiguous in his opposition for the movement.
  28. In 2001, he was presented with the ‘Grand Bauhinia Medal,’ the highest award under the Hong Kong honors and award system, in recognition of his significant contribution to the well-being of Hong Kong.
  29. His empire stretches across the globe in more than 50 nations and employs 323,000 people. It operates 52 ports and 16 hotels around the world, has 14,100 retail stores, and serves 128.9 million telecom customers. It rents out 3 million square feet of office, retail, industries and hotel property.
  30. Li is regarded as one of Asia’s most generous philanthropists, donating over billions of dollars to charity. He reportedly pledged US$3 million towards the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake disaster and donated US$3.85 million to aid 2008 Sichuan earthquake relief work.
  31. Li Ka-shing Net Worth: $32 Billion

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Li Ka-shing

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