• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 9:03am

Li Ka-Shing

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.

NewsHong Kong
ECONOMY

Tycoon Li Ka-shing downbeat over Hong Kong’s future

Tycoon warns over competitiveness, Occupy Central and harassment of mainland tourists

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 9:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 8:16am
 

Poll

  • Occupy Central: 8%
  • Harassment of mainland tourists: 11%
  • Declining competitiveness: 81%
1 Mar 2014
  • Occupy Central
  • Harassment of mainland tourists
  • Declining competitiveness
Total number of votes recorded: 1,125

Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest man, gave a downbeat assessment of Hong Kong's situation yesterday, warning that the Occupy Central campaign, the harassment of mainland tourists and declining competitiveness with neighbouring markets would erode the city's prospects.

Li also said he was upset about the news that Hong Kong has been replaced by Beijing as the venue for a meeting of Apec finance ministers and central bankers.

"The move to occupy Central does not benefit Hong Kong," he said. "If this happens, it will give a bad impression to outsiders ... even if it just lasts for one hour, it will be harmful to the city."

The campaign wants to stage a sit-in protest in the city's business district this year if electoral changes fail to meet its expectations.

Li spoke at the post-earnings results press conference of his flagship companies - Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa.

Cheung Kong posted a 10 per cent rise in its net profit to HK$35.26 billion for the year ended December last year, and Hutchison Whampoa reported its net profit for the year ended December up 20 per cent to HK$31.11 billion. Both were better than analysts' expectations.

Li said Hong Kong people need to stop complaining about Chinese tourists because they help support the city's economy.

Even if it just lasts for one hour, it will be harmful to the city
LI KA-SHING ON OCCUPY CENTRAL

"It will be very difficult for Hong Kong if there's no support from China." Li referred to the harassment of mainland tourists during a protest in Kowloon last month in which demonstrators targeted shoppers in Tsim Sha Tsui,

"Stop scolding China tourists, this is totally wrong," he said. Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong from China jumped about 17 per cent to 40.8 million last year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

In what seen as an unusual move, Li repeatedly expressed sadness about recent happenings in the city.

"I was saddened that Hong Kong has been replaced by Beijing to host the Apec conference. I hope Hong Kong can be recognised by our own country and other countries as the ideal place to host such international meeting," he said.

He was disheartened about the recent brutal attack of former Ming Pao chief editor, Kevin Lau, that sparked off concern over freedom of press in Hong Kong, and upset by the continuous reports criticising that he is pulling out of Hong Kong, despite his repeatedly denials.

Commenting on Hong Kong's competitiveness and opportunities, he said that the city's competitiveness should be strengthened. The gross dometic product of Hong Kong and Singapore were at similar levels in 1997, he said. But now Hong Kong's per capita GDP is now about one-third less than that of Singapore.

Li was ranked the richest man in Asia by Forbes magazine with a net worth of US$32 billion last year. But the ranking could be threatened by Galaxy Entertainment chairman Lui Che-woo, who has ridden Macau's casino boom to become Hong Kong's second-richest person, with a net worth of US$21 billion.

Li said that in a period of at least 10 years in the past, foreign magazines, which he did not identify, had underestimated his wealth by more than 40 per cent because they did not regard Canada's Husky Energy as one of his assets.

"Actually I am the biggest shareholder in Husky, slightly more than Hutchison. That's a personal investment. But I don't bother to point out," he said.

Li also reiterated he had no plan to retire.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

pslhk
Please find those "competent companies" for HK
if you can't find any, you should start one yourself
the world's democratic masses would welcome you
as a latter day marxist
vandenf
Mr Li,
With all due respect, would you mind commuting on the MTR on a Friday at 6pm, and then update us about your thinking again?
Rgds
lenali2003
Everyone knows that Occupy Central does no good to Hong Kong.
However, but for the unfair electoral systems, the campaign would not have launched and supported by the local. They have no alternative but to do so.
L.L.
Z.O.Z... If HK been over 50-y the rule of law of CN active, valid, it’s will scare me, because 1.3 milliard people has not Norms and values apply, not Modern society, they must learn so much of everything in this whole society; community of their daily life, but there mind are so naïf, so arrogant, superior, haughty, presumptuous, supercilious, high-handed, condescending, overbearing, stuck-up, self-satisfied,pedantic how can u be adjust, fix, repair, tune them in this whole Society community of the life? CN must leave HK in a freedom of his own sister city. Because HK will help u (CN) change in to positive way of future, not in reversed order. (did CN know how we here EU-people talk about CN? It’s not nice to hear this!). HK fight for u self, used the contract, make it permanent, do it now, the rest will come later… freedom of speech…
L.L.
Morning Mr. Li, Nice to read u news, and let me see u do care about HK. I don’t care how rich u are, but if u can help HK, do it than … (Li also said he was upset about the news that Hong Kong has been replaced by Beijing as the venue for a meeting of Apec finance ministers and central bankers.) So do I, if everything leaves HK and go to Beijing, it’s will change a lot of things for HK… Why is HK not Central of a general meeting (Azie)? Why is HK not the central bridge of the business of Azie? Why HK don’t make the 50-year contract in to permanent, immovable, immutable with indeterminate conditions, circumstances with the Law of the system, One land, two systems? I like the Law of Brits, Engels, not CN, they are more humanity, like us EU, has freedom of speech, freedom of human right, that is important to help the future. freedom of speech... Z.O.Z...
JC
I urge you to look at the IMF and World Bank figures to check the facts according to nominal and PPP terms. It is even higher than at nominal levels. HK's population 20 years ago was about 5.5 million. Singapore's about 3 million. Yes the gap in absolute numbers has narrowed from 2.5 million (current HK population - 7.1 million) to about 1.8million (current Singapore population - 5.3 million. Yet in terms of per capita levels, at both nominal and PPP, Singapore's GDP per capita has increased! What do these mean? It means higher growth and productivity levels in the Lion City. Simple as that
anotherguy
You are stupid. Period.
ejmciii
But at least I irritated you. Now run along, you have Princeling boots to lick, lackey.
rpasea
@dai muff: we blocked FB at our office....easy to do. We had folks sitting on this and watching movies until we blocked both.
anotherguy
You are not only naive but blind perhaps by your anger. He did more charity than we ever did in our entire lives. The city is blinded with anger and rather than questioning ourselves, we keep finding someone to blame. We deserve to lose to the lion city, not because of lks but because we have too Many people who are still locked in their dreams while the world passes us by. Hkers are normally the last people I like to hire not bc of any bias but their standards and attitudes are simply appalling compared to PRC Chinese and many other elites feel the same. But it seems like honesty is the last thing required in this city with everyone encouraging each other to hate the rich, be discriminating towards mainland Chinese and basically silence everyone who speaks the truth.

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