In the realm of real estate, business magnates, and philanthropic endeavours, the name Lee Shau-kee stands as a testament to both entrepreneurial success and unwavering generosity. Born on March 7, 1928, in Shunde, Guangdong, China, Lee Shau-kee has risen to become one of Hong Kong's most celebrated and accomplished figures. As the founder and former long-time chairman of Henderson Land Development, a conglomerate with diverse interests, Lee Shau-kee's legacy extends far beyond the world of business.
Lee's journey to becoming one of the most affluent individuals in Hong Kong has been nothing short of remarkable. Over the years, he has transformed Henderson Land Development into a property conglomerate with interests that span property development, hotels, restaurants, and internet services. With the tenacity of a true entrepreneur, Lee worked diligently to grow his empire.
In 2019, at the age of 91, Lee Shau-kee stepped down as chairman and managing director of the company. He handed over the reins to two of his sons, Peter and Martin Lee while retaining an active role as an executive director. His leadership at Henderson Land Development cemented the company's position as a significant player in the real estate market.
Lee Shau-kee's personal wealth is an awe-inspiring testament to his business acumen. As of July 2021, his estimated net worth was approximately $33.0 billion, making him the second wealthiest person in Hong Kong, surpassed only by the legendary Li Ka-shing. He was once the fourth-richest person globally before the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, a remarkable achievement considering his modest beginnings.
He is often affectionately referred to as "Uncle Four," a moniker derived from being one of the very few fourth-born children globally to have risen to become a multi-billionaire. This unique distinction reflects his extraordinary journey from humble roots to unmatched success.
Lee Shau-kee's influence extends far beyond the boardroom. His dedication to philanthropy and giving back to society has set a precedent for others to follow. Among his notable philanthropic endeavours, the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity holds a significant place. He has donated more than HK$20 million through the Lee Shau Kee Foundation to support the school.
In 2007, Lee made generous donations of HK$500 million to the University of Hong Kong and HK$400 million to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. These contributions continue to impact the field of education and research.
One of his most notable philanthropic gestures was the donation of a site in Yuen Long to the charity organisation Po Leung Kuk for the development of Hong Kong's most extensive youth hostel. This endeavour aims to provide affordable accommodation for young people between the ages of 18 and 30.
Lee Shau-kee's spirit of giving extends to his employees at Henderson Land. He has celebrated the birth of four of his grandchildren by gifting cash rewards to his staff, totalling HK$60 million over a nine-year period.
In 2018, Lee further solidified his commitment to charitable causes by donating HK$100 million to Hang Seng Management College, supporting its strategic development. These contributions underscore his commitment to education and youth development.
Lee Shau-kee's influence in Hong Kong's business landscape remains palpable. He holds multiple positions and has contributed significantly to organisations like Hong Kong and China Gas and Miramar Hotel and Investment. As a vice-chairman and independent non-executive director of Sun Hung Kai Properties and a member of the board of directors of Hong Kong Ferry (Holdings) and the Bank of East Asia, he continues to play an essential role in the business world.
The family has always held a special place in Lee's heart. He has five children, including his elder son, Peter Lee Ka-kit, and his younger son, Martin Lee Ka-shing, who continue his legacy. Lee is also the proud grandfather of eight grandchildren.
Lee Shau-kee's remarkable journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of Hong Kong's most influential business magnates is truly inspirational. His dedication to philanthropy has made a profound impact on education, youth development, and the community. The legacy of Lee Shau-kee, the "Uncle Four," serves as a testament to the power of hard work, entrepreneurship, and the enduring importance of giving back to society.