Friday, January 27, 2012

Li Ka-shing

Sir Ka-shing Li, GBM, KBE, JP (traditional Chinese: 李嘉誠; simplified Chinese: 李嘉; pinyin: Lǐ Jiāchéng, Jyutping: Lei5 Gaa1-sing4, Li2 Gia1-sêng5 gdr, born June 13, 1928) is a Chinese business magnate based in Hong Kong. He is the richest person of East Asian descent in the world and the eleventh richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of US$26.0 billion on 10 March 2011. Presently, he is the Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL) and Cheung Kong Holdings; through them, he is the world's largest operator of container terminals and the world's largest health and beauty retailer.

Considered one of the most powerful figures in Asia, Li was named "Asia's Most Powerful Man" by Asiaweek in 2001. His companies make up 15% of the market cap of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Forbes Magazine and the Forbes family honored Li Ka-shing with the first ever "Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award" on September 5, 2006, in Singapore. In spite of his wealth, Li has cultivated a reputation for leading a no-frills lifestyle, and is known to wear simple black dress shoes and an inexpensive Seiko wristwatch, which is at odds with the house he owns in one of Hong Kong's most expensive precincts, Deep Water Bay. Li is also regarded as one of Asia's most generous philanthropists, donating over US $1.41 billion to date to charity and other various philanthropic causes.

Li is often referred to as "Superman" in Hong Kong because of his business prowess.

Early Life
Li Ka-shing was born in Chaozhou in Guangdong province, Republic of China in 1928. In 1940 the Li family fled to Hong Kong to avoid turmoil on the Mainland. Li's family stayed at the home of his wealthy uncle. The success of Li's uncle ignited Li's determination to make a place for himself in the world.[citation needed] Li married Chong Yuet Ming, his first cousin and the daughter of his wealthy uncle.

Li's father died in Hong Kong. Shouldering the responsibility of looking after the family's livelihood, Li was forced to leave school before the age of 15 and found a job in a plastics trading company where he labored up to 16 hours a day. By 1950 he was able to start his own company, Cheung Kong Industries. From manufacturing plastics, Li led and developed his company into a leading real estate investment company in Hong Kong that was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972. Cheung Kong expanded by acquiring Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited in 1979 and 1985 respectively.

Personal Life
His two sons, Victor Li and Richard Li, are also prominent figures in the Hong Kong business scene. Victor Li works directly with his father as managing director and deputy chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, while Richard Li is the head of PCCW, the largest telecom company in Hong Kong. They are both Canadian citizens.

Li is famously plainly dressed for a Hong Kong tycoon. In the 1990s he wore a $50 timepiece from Citizen Watch Co. and plain ties. He now wears a Seiko.

Even at his age, Li remains physically fit, and says that no matter what time he sleeps at night, he gets up before 6 am each morning to play golf for about an hour and a half. His golfing partner is Hong Kong movie mogul Raymond Chow. Li says that during that time, '...the ninety minutes that I have are mine.' His preferable amount of time for sleep is eight hours. It is also said that he walks on the treadmill for fifteen minutes a day at noon.

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