Li Ka-shing was born on the 13th of June 1928 in Chao’an, Chaozhou, Guangdong Province, China. He lost his father during his teens and had to leave school to survive. His father was a teacher. He had to struggle hard and work in a plastics trading company for 16 hours a day.
Li fled to Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation of South China. At the age of 22, a hard-working and focused man, Li Ka-shing, established his company, Cheung Kong Industries. Since 1950, he has spread his wings in various fields to become the richest man in Hong Kong.
The Journey to Success:
Li Ka-shing was a visionary genius in business. From manufacturing plastics to a leading real estate investment company in Hong Kong to banking, construction, cellular phones, satellite television, cement production, retail outlets of pharmacies and supermarkets, hotels, the sky train, airports, electric power, steel production, ports, and shipping, he has achieved it all with his sheer magnitude, hard work, visionary planning, and dedication. He is truly the epitome of success.
Li Ka-shing opened a company to make plastic in Hong Kong in 1950 after he learned how to run a factory.He invested all his hard-earned savings and even borrowed money from relatives. He used to supply high-quality flowers to the world at very low prices.
He honed his business acumen by reading business news in trade publications. Li was a quick learner and risk taker. He learned the color mixing technique to make colorful plastic flowers.
Li Ka-shing hired the best technicians to work for him. His foreign buyers were impressed with his quality plants and used to place large orders. Within a few years, Li’s company became the largest supplier of plastic flowers in Asia. This was just the beginning.
In 1958, Li invested in real estate. He foresaw the increase in house rents in the coming months. He bought a site and developed his own factory building. The 1967 riots came as a boon for Li Ka-shing. Many people fled Hong Kong, and property values saw a decline. He purchased land at lower prices from people who were fleeing Hong Kong.
In 1971, Li Ka-shing’s real estate development company was named Cheung Kong. A year later, his company was listed publicly on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. By 1977, Li Ka-shing had developed sites above the Central and Admiralty MTR stations. Cheung Kong became the premier property developer in Hong Kong.
With the help of HSBC, he bought Hutchinson Whampoa Company Limited in 1979 so he could grow his business empire.Cheung Kong Holdings controlled 12% of the world’s container port facilities, especially in Hong Kong, Canada (Vancouver), China, the United Kingdom, Rotterdam, Panama, the Bahamas, and many developing countries.
In 1985, Li acquired Hong Kong Electric Holdings Limited. It is interesting to note that Li Ka-shing had a humble beginning during his early years. His amazing success story provides a lesson in integrity and adaptability for many. He worked hard and remained true to his internal moral compass.
CK Hutchinson’s subsidiary, the A.S. Watson Group, owns 12,000 retail outlets. The portfolio encompasses brands like ‘Superdog’ in the UK, “Marinonnaud” in France, Kruidvat in the Benelux Countries, and “Kudos” in Asia. It also included health and beauty retailer Watson’s store and wine cellars, PARKnSHOP supermarkets, and Fortress electrical appliance stores.
Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchinson Group built a reputation as a brilliant asset trader. Its role was to build up new businesses and, at the right time, sell them off for a high profit. In the year 1999, the group garnered a profit of $15.12 billion. In 2006, Li made a $3.12 billion profit on a $4 billion deal by selling 20% of Hutchinson’s ports business to Singaporean rival PSA Group.
With a $2 billion investment, Li made $11.1 billion by selling a 67% controlling stake in Hutchinson Essar in India.
Li Ka-shing was way ahead of most of the businessmen around the world. He was always quick to gauge the future of any new business. He intelligently invested in technology startup firms. Li’s investment and venture capital firm, Horizons Ventures, invested in ‘doubleTwist’ by buying a stake in the startup company.
The Li Ka-shing Foundation invested $120 million to buy an 8% stake in Facebook. He also invested $50 million in the music streaming service. During late 2009–2010, Li invested $15.5 million in Siri Inc.
In 2011, Li Ka-shing invested in the 15-year-old Nick D’Aloisio’s ‘Summly,” a website-summarizing app called “Notably.” Nick D’Aloisio became the youngest person to receive a venture capital investment in the world. In 2012, Li’s Horizon Ventures invested $2.3 million in ‘Wibbitz’. He also acquired a stake in Ginger Software Incorporated. A year later, his company invested in ‘Bitpay’, a Bitcoin payment company.
The main reason Li Ka-shing has been so successful is that he has never stopped investing in new businesses.In 2015, his Horizon Ventures funded $30 million in Zoom Video Communications and $108 million in Impossible Food. His investment spree continued in 2016 by investing $55 million in ‘Blockstream’.
Through his hard work, intelligent investment, and a reputation for remaining true to his internal moral compass, he was able to build a spectacular business empire, which includes a diverse portfolio in banking, construction, real estate, plastics, cellular phones, satellite television, cement production, retail outlets (pharmacies and supermarkets), hotels, domestic transportation (sky train), airports, electric power, steel production, ports, and shipping.
Li Ka-shing is one of the most influential Asian entrepreneurs in the world. His net worth is pegged at $32.8 billion as of March 31, 2019. Li is known for leading a frugal, no-frills lifestyle. He still wears simple shoes and an inexpensive watch.
He has lived in the same house for a number of decades. Incidentally, it is located in Deep Water Bay on Hong Kong Island, which happens to be one of the most expensive districts today. His generosity in various philanthropic activities is second to none. Li Ka-shing owns the second-largest private foundation in the world. In Hong Kong, he is fondly known as ‘Superman Li’.
In the summer of 1963, Li Ka-shing married Chong Yuet-Ming. They have been blessed with two sons, Victor Li and Richard Li. Li misplaced his spouse in 1990. Li Ka-shing’s humility is reflected in his undeniable dressing. He is not like other flashy, wealthy billionaires.
He has been frequently visible carrying a less costly Citizen Watch. His most costly watch is a HK$500 Citizen watch. He is an epitome of simplicity. Li Ka-shing reigned for almost 70 lengthy years over CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings.
On March 16, 2018, the 89-year-old octogenarian announced his retirement. He surpassed his $100 billion empire to his son Victor Li. Li nevertheless is still involved within the conglomerate as a senior advisor. He holds twin citizenships with Canada and Hong Kong.
Victor Li works as Co-Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of CK Hutchinson Holdings with his father directly. Li’s second son, Richard Li, heads the most important telecom employer, PCCW, in Hong Kong. Both the sons maintain Canadian citizenship. Li’s granddaughter, Michelle Sar Li Se De, finished her research at the Chinese International School in Hong Kong.
Li Ka-shing has been honored with prestigious awards like the Grand Bauhinia Medal, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur.
Courtesy: Success Stories