Sir Li Ka-shing GBM KBE JP, a multibillionaire businessman, philanthropist, and investor from Hong Kong, was born on June 13, 1928. After leaving his position as chairman of the board in May 2018, he became the senior adviser for CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings. Through this company, he is also the port investor, developer, and owner of the biggest health and beauty shop in Asia and Europe. Li is the 33rd richest person in the world as of July 2023, according to estimates, with a net worth of US$37.7 billion.
Li makes investments in a variety of sectors, including real estate, financial services, retail, energy, and utilities. His multi-sector conglomerate Cheung Kong Holdings contributed 4% of the total market capitalization of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and engages in a wide range of Hong Kong economic sectors. On September 5, 2006, in Singapore, Li Ka-shing received the first-ever Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award from Forbes Magazine and the Forbes family. Despite his fortune, Li has developed a reputation for living simply and cheaply. He is frequently spotted wearing basic black dress shoes and a low-cost Seiko wristwatch.
He resided in the same home for many years at Deep Water Bay on Hong Kong Island, which is today one of the most expensive areas in the city. In addition, Li is a philanthropist who owns the second-largest private foundation in the world, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and donates billions of dollars to charities and other humanitarian organisations. Li was included among the most giving philanthropists outside of the US by Forbes in 2019.
Li was born in 1928 to Teochew parents Li Yun-ching (1898–1943) and Cheung Bik-chin in Chao'an, Chaozhou, Guangdong Province. In 1940, Li and his family fled the Sino-Japanese War and arrived in Hong Kong. He was obliged to drop out of school at the age of 15 and find work in a plastics trade company due to the death of his father from disease. He founded his own business, Cheung Kong Industries, in 1950. In 1972, Li transformed his business from making plastics into a prominent real estate investment firm in Hong Kong and floated it on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 1979 and 1985, respectively, Cheung Kong expanded by acquiring Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited.
Career In Business
Li established a plastic manufacturing business in Hong Kong in 1950 using personal savings and money borrowed from family members after learning how to run a plant. Before deciding to offer plastic flowers of the highest calibre and at competitive costs to the world, Li examined trade journals and business news with a passion. Li picked up the skill of blending colour using fake flowers that seem like real ones. He retooled his shop and then got the factory ready for a big international buyer. Fortunately for Li, the customer placed a sizable order, and a few years later Li had become Asia's largest supplier of plastic flowers and was making a fortune from their sale.
In 1958, Li made the decision to buy a plot of land and build his own manufacturing building because he thought rents would keep going up. After the 1967 riots, when many people left Hong Kong and property values fell, a chance to buy more land presented itself. Li purchased land from the emigrating inhabitants at a discount because he thought the political situation would pass quickly and real estate prices would eventually rise. Li formally branded his property development business Cheung Kong in 1971. In 1972, Cheung Kong Holdings became a publicly traded company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Li frequently expressed during board meetings his desire to overtake Hongkong Land, which is held by Jardines.
Li has also ventured into the technology sector, investing in doubleTwist and dedicating his investment and venture capital firm Horizons Ventures to supporting new internet and technology startup companies. His other business, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, invested an estimated $50 million in the music streaming service Spotify and paid $120 million for a 0.8% share in the social networking site Facebook. Late in 2009 or early in 2010, Li Ka-shing oversaw a $15.5 million Series B fundraising round for Siri Inc.
Victor Li and Richard Li, his two sons, are prominent players in the Hong Kong business community. Richard Li is the chairman of PCCW, the largest telecom business in Hong Kong, while Victor Li is the chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings Limited. Victor Li succeeded his father in these roles. They are both citizens of Canada. His religion is Buddhism. They had a long marriage that lasted for 27–28 years, from 1962 until her tragic death on New Year's Day 1990 owing to a suspected drug overdose (other accounts said it was cardiac failure). He was married to his first cousin, Chong Yuet-ming (1933–1990), at this time. She was the daughter of his maternal uncle (mother's younger brother), Cheung Jing-on (1908-1996), and his wife, Hew Bik-yin (1911-2002), who were both residents of British Hong Kong long before he moved there. Her parents were emigrant Teochews from that area of Guangdong, and she was born and raised there.