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
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