Often referred to as “Superman” in Hong Kong because of his business prowess, Li Ka-shing is the richest businessman in Asia, and chairs conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong Holdings, a property group. Li turned Cheung Kong Industries into a top property group, and Cheung Kong expanded to acquire Hutchison Whampoa in 1979 and Hongkong Electric in 1985. Li is a noted philanthropist and heads a charitable foundation that is a shareholder in Facebook.
Li Ka-shing assures shareholders the future looks good
In the absence of uncontrollable events like war or political turmoil, Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing says his conglomerate should be able to do very well even if he retired immediately.
"You do not need to worry," Li said at a meeting of Hutchison Whampoa shareholders.
"Even if I wanted to retire at this moment, the whole conglomerate should be able to do very well - if war, politics and other things I cannot control [do not happen]," he said in remarks filmed by i-Cable whose reporter entered the closed-door meeting as a shareholder.
The meeting was disrupted by an intruding activist, while about 10 other protesters from three groups including the League of Social Democrats also demonstrated outside the venue, the Harbour Grand Kowloon hotel.
Li, just weeks away from his 85th birthday, has not said if he plans to retire. But he revealed his succession plan last year.
He would allow his eldest son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi to take the helm at his flagship companies, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa, while he would help his younger son Richard Li Tzar-kai to develop other businesses.
The Hutchison meeting was interrupted when activist Jaco Chow Nak-hang jumped up on his seat in the third row inside the room and urged Li to treat his workers better.
Speaking after he was carried away by several security guards, Chow said he wanted Li to stop hiring workers through contractors as his Hong Kong International Terminals did at the strike-hit container port.
At a separate meeting with Cheung Kong shareholders, Li said the financial impact of refunding deposits and cancelling sales of its hotel units at Apex Horizon because of conflict with government sales rules was "minimal".