Li Ka-Shing is one of the most powerful and richest men of the world. He is the boss of the conglomerate ‘Hutchison Whampoa, Cheung Kong Holdings and Watson Group’. The business mogul is the 9th richest person of the world with a net worth of approximately 25.5 billion dollars according to Forbes.
Sir Ka-Shing was born on 13th June 1928 in Chaozhou, China. He was orphaned at the age of 15 due to which he had to abandon his education and look for a job to support his family. His first job was at a plastics trading company where he worked for almost 16 hours daily. He also sold watches at his uncle’s store. Soon he became popular for his selling skills and was given the additional responsibilities of controlling the factory’s operations and product commercialization. In 1947 Ka-Shing borrowed money from close family and established his own company that produced and supplied high quality plastic flowers. In a few years Ka-Shing’s company was one of the leading suppliers of plastics flowers in Asia. During the riots of 1967 in Hong Kong, while masses fled from the country, Ka-Shing was busy buying land as price of property had plummeted. In 1971 he started his real estate development company named ‘Cheung Kong’ after the longest river of the country. The company became public in 1972.
Ka-Shing acquired ‘Hutchison Whampoa Limited’ his flagship company from HSBC in 1979. This deal generated a huge conglomerate with business benefits in several businesses with the most prominent branch being his investment in the container port facilities worldwide including Canada, Hong Kong, U.S, Panama, Bahamas, Rotterdam as well as many developing countries. This venture by Ka-Shing is 13% of the world’s total port container capacity. A subsidiary of this company is the A.S Watson Group which is a retail operator that has more than 7,800 stores including some of well-known brands such as Superdrug, Watson stores, Park n Shop markets, Kruidvat and many more. The Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate is also reputed as a smart asset trader that makes new business ventures and sells them. This has gotten the company huge profits. His companies form 15% of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s market cap. Ka-Shing also invested in many IT related businesses. His company ‘Li Ka Shing Foundation’ purchased a 0.8% stake in the social networking website Facebook in 120 million dollars.
Ka-Shing is also a distinguished philanthropist; he has pledged to give off 1/3rd of his wealth to charitable institutions and philanthropist developments all over the world. He has been awarded with the Grand Bauhinia medal and was knighted as Commander of the Order of the British Empire and Commandeur, Légion d’honneur. In 2006, he was given the first ‘Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Forbes family. Often called ‘Superman’ in Hong Kong due to his business dexterity and competence, Ka-Shing rose from his humble beginnings to become of the most influential people of the world. He was termed ‘Asia’s Most Powerful Man’ by AsiaWeek in 2001.