Tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung is critically ill in Beijing and has been visited by a senior state leader in hospital.
Rumours had circulated in the capital for some time that the 83-year-old Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) vice-chairman had fallen sick.
The China News Agency yesterday said Mr Fok was very ill and was receiving treatment in Beijing. The report added that Vice-president Zeng Qinghong had visited him recently.
Born in May 1923, the tycoon is an enthusiastic sports fan and has made sizeable financial contributions to mainland sport.
He became a vice- chairman of the CPPCC in 1998.
The tycoon has large investments in piers and port facilities in Nansha and Panyu , near Guangzhou, his home town.
Meanwhile, philanthropist Sir Run Run Shaw, 99, is battling pneumonia in St Teresa's Hospital, Kowloon City.
The movie mogul was admitted to hospital on Sunday after going there for a check-up.
He was suffering from coughing, and doctors confirmed that he had contracted pneumonia, his wife, Mona Fong Yat-wah, said last night. She said the hot weather could be the reason for her husband's illness. 'He is recovering,' she added.
Sir Run Run, the chairman of TVB, first invested in the company in 1980. The listed company is now valued at $20 billion.
In 2002, he established the Shaw Prize for Scientists, an international award for the fields of astronomy, mathematics and life and medical science.