Richest man in Asia and eleventh global fortune according to Forbes in 2011, Li Ka-shing is the boss of conglomerates Hutchison Whampoa, Cheung Kong Holdings and Watson Group, the world leader in port management.
At 17 years old, Li Ka-shing left his studies to sell watches in the store of his uncle. Quickly he becomes the best seller and at the age of 19, he is hired by a company to sell various metal items. Seller the day, he also works the night to monitor the manufacturing process. This job allows him to control the operation of a factory and the product’s commercialization.
In 1947, Li Ka-shing borrows some money to his family and begin selling artificial flowers. He creates a factory for the production and hires the best salesmen. The notoriety of the firm increases and Li Ka-shing signs profitable contracts. In a few years,he becomes the biggest provider of artificial flowers in Asia.
In the sixties, the Cultural Revolution moves lot of people to leave the country and the real estate’ price drop sharply. Li Ka-shing is convinced that prices will go up so he decides to buy a lot of lands. In 1971, he creates the real estate company Cheung Kong.
In a few years, the businessman appears like “the strong man of the real estate” in Hong Kong. Front of the globalization, he begins to invest in ports.
In 1979, Li Ka-shing takes the control of Hutchison Whampoa Limited which he holds 22%. From that time on, starts a rapid expansion which allows HWL to establish in Rotterdam and Panama. The group becomes the first global port operator.
Since, Li Ka-shing has continued to increase investment in areas such as telephony. In 1999, he sold his 48% shares in Orange to the group Mannesman for nearly 15 billion dollars.
First investor in the 3G, he is the leader in this area in Europe.
He has also invested $ 120 million in the social network Facebook (he holds 0.8%).
In 2005 he bought the perfumery chain Marionnaud. He also holds the airline Air Canada.
During the kidnapping of his son Victor Li, Li Ka-shing had to pay a ransom of one million HK dollars (about 130 000 dollars). His two sons are now Canadian citizens.
In 2005, his charitable foundation has given $ 120 million to the Faculty of Medicine, University of HongKong.
"Vision is perhaps our greatest strength... it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown."
Li Ka-Shing : Hong Kong's Elusive Billionaire by Anthony B.Chan. Editions OUP China (1997).
Copyright © 4-traders.com / Photo © Maxppp