Li Ka-Shing, born on June 13, 1928, is a name that resonates with wealth, business acumen, and unparalleled philanthropy. The estimated net worth of Li Ka-shing according to Forbes, is 3,720 crores USD. He is not just a billionaire business magnate; he is also a staunch advocate of giving back to society. In this article, we will explore the life, career, and immense impact of Li Ka-shing, one of the world's most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
Li Ka-shing's journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet is nothing short of inspirational. Born in Chao'an, Chaozhou, in Guangdong Province in 1928, Li's family fled to Hong Kong in 1940 as refugees during the Sino-Japanese War. Tragically, his father succumbed to tuberculosis, which compelled Li to leave school at the age of 15. To make ends meet, he worked 16 hours a day at a plastics trading company.
In 1950, Li's entrepreneurial spirit led him to start his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, marking the initial step of an astonishing business journey.
Plastics Manufacturing: Li's foray into the business world commenced in the 1950s when he founded a plastic manufacturing company in Hong Kong. His innovation in producing high-quality plastic flowers at competitive prices led to significant success, making him the largest supplier of plastic flowers in Asia.
Real Estate: In 1958, foreseeing an increase in rent, Li ventured into real estate by purchasing land and developing factory buildings. The purchase of undervalued land during the 1967 riots propelled him to establish Cheung Kong Holdings. The company expanded further by acquiring Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited in 1979 and 1985, respectively. These moves challenged Hong Kong Land as the premier property developer in Hong Kong.
Retail: A subsidiary of CK Hutchison, the A.S. Watson Group, operates over 15,000 retail stores across Europe and Asia. The group's portfolio includes popular brands like Superdrug (UK), Marionnaud (France), and PARKnSHOP supermarkets, among others.
Asset Trading: Li's investment strategies revolve around creating shareholder value. Notably, his decision to sell a stake in Hutchison's ports business to Singapore's PSA Corp. in 2006 earned him a substantial profit.
Internet and Technology: Li's venture capital firm, Horizons Ventures, invests in internet and technology startups. The foundation's notable investments include stakes in Facebook and Spotify. He has also invested in blockchain technologies, Bitcoin payment companies, and innovative startups like Summly and Wibbitz.
Water: Through CK Infrastructure Holdings Limited, Li owns a majority stake in British water supplier Northumbrian Water.
In March 2018, Li Ka-shing announced his retirement after nearly seven decades at the helm of CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings. He passed the reins to his son, Victor Li, while retaining an advisory role within the conglomerate.
Li's philanthropic endeavours have been as impressive as his business successes. His foundation, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, has dedicated significant resources to education, medical services, charitable initiatives, and anti-poverty programs. Notable contributions include:
Shantou University and the Shantou University Medical College: Li's donation led to the founding of these institutions in the Chaozhou region of Guangdong.
Guangdong Technion – Israel Institute of Technology: A joint venture between the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Shantou University.
Funding a range of initiatives at the University of Hong Kong, including the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine.
Donations to institutions like the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Melbourne for groundbreaking research and innovation.
Li Ka Shing Centre in Cambridge, England: Housing a Cancer Research UK facility, it's a cornerstone in the fight against cancer.
Tsz Shan Monastery: Developed as a place for spiritual contemplation and Chinese Buddhist practice.
Donations for disaster relief efforts worldwide, including aid after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
Funding groundbreaking research projects and initiatives, such as supporting the development of autonomous sailing drones for climate data collection in Antarctica.
Li Ka-shing's life and career exemplify the principles of entrepreneurship, resilience, and giving back. From his modest beginnings, he built a business empire spanning diverse industries, demonstrating a keen sense of opportunity and innovation. His commitment to philanthropy has left a profound impact worldwide, making a tangible difference in education, healthcare, and humanitarian efforts. Li Ka-shing's legacy is one that transcends business success, inspiring future generations to embrace the values of compassion, education, and community support.