And miles to go be­fore I sleep…

Li Ka-shing, a wartime refugee who used to sweep fac­tory floors in Hong Kong for a liv­ing, re­tired af­ter a ca­reer span­ning more than half a cen­tury amass­ing one of Asia’s biggest for­tunes from build­ing sky­scrapers to sell­ing soap bars

Maritime Gateway - - Contents - Cour­tesy: Busi­ness In­sider

Li Ka-shing, a wartime refugee who used to sweep fac­tory floors in Hong Kong for a liv­ing, re­tired af­ter a ca­reer span­ning more than half a cen­tury amass­ing one of Asia’s biggest for­tunes from build­ing sky­scrapers to sell­ing soap bars.

The 89-year-old Chair­man of CK Hutchi­son Hold­ings Ltd. and CK As­set Hold­ings Ltd. will stay as an ad­viser to the group af­ter step­ping down in May. His el­der son Vic­tor will take over a con­glom­er­ate that touches the lives of prac­ti­cally every­one in Hong Kong - the fam­ily’s Power As­sets Hold­ings Ltd gen­er­ates their elec­tric­ity and Parkn­shop su­per­mar­kets sell their gro­ceries. The group also op­er­ates mo­bile-phone stores and Su­per­drug and Savers in the UK, owns ports around the world and a con­trol­ling stake in Husky En­ergy Inc. in Canada.

Hong Kong’s bil­lion­aire Li Kash­ing may no longer be the rich­est man in Asia, but with a cur­rent es­ti­mated net worth at $20.1 bil­lion, his wealth is still noth­ing to sneeze at. Li Ka-shing has an in­cred­i­ble rags-to-riches story. He was forced to drop out of school as a child to sup­port his fam­ily, but to­day, he is one of the world's rich­est men. He opened his first fac­tory at the age of 22 and within a few years saw great suc­cess as a man­u­fac­turer, prop­erty de­vel­oper, busi­ness mag­nate, and in­vestor.

He's now be­come a ma­jor in­vestor in dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy. He was one of the first big in­vestors in Face­book, and his most re­cent big ac­qui­si­tion was the Bri­tish tele­com com­pany, O20.

Li Ka-shing was sad­dled with fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity from a young age af­ter his fa­ther died of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis. He had to leave school be­fore the age of 16 to work in a fac­tory.

His early suc­cess as a bread­win­ner taught him the gen­er­ous val­ues which have made him fa­mous for his phi­lan­thropy to­day. Li showed prom­ise as a leader and a vi­sion­ary when he opened his first fac­tory in 1950 at the age of

22. The fac­tory, Che­ung Kong In­dus­tries, man­u­fac­tured plastic flow­ers. He an­tic­i­pated that plas­tics would be­come a boom­ing in­dus­try, and he was right.

Though Li dropped out of school at a young age and never re­ceived a univer­sity de­gree, he has al­ways been a vo­ra­cious reader and at­tributes much of his suc­cess to his abil­ity to learn in­de­pen­dently. For in­stance, he com­pleted Che­ung Kong's ac­count­ing books in the com­pany's first year him­self with no ac­count­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – he sim­ply taught him­self from text books.

Li’s first vi­sion­ary move was with plas­tics, though he was ahead of the curve again when he moved into prop­erty de­vel­op­ment in 1979 with the ac­qui­si­tion of Hutchi­son Wham­poa. This set the stage for him to be­come a ma­jor real es­tate ty­coon be­fore Hong Kong’s global boom.

Though he is known mainly as a prop­erty de­vel­oper, Li’s com­pa­nies con­trol 70 per cent of port traf­fic and most electric util­i­ties and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in Hong Kong. He also owns a ma­jor­ity stake in Husky En­ergy, a Cana­dian com­pany. Li was one of the first big in­vestors in Face­book and in­vests in tech­nolo­gies that are “dis­rup­tive.”

The re­cent con­sol­i­da­tion of his hold­ings into two com­pa­nies ap­pears to be a move in prepa­ra­tion for when he hands his em­pire over to his old­est son, Vic­tor. How­ever, at 89 years old, Li Ka-shing shows no signs of slow­ing his suc­cess any­time soon.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how strong or ca­pa­ble you are; if you don’t have a big heart, you will not suc­ceed.” Li Ka-shing Chair­man,ck Hutchi­son Hold­ings Ltd

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