Richard Li Tzar-kai bounds into the room dripping energy. His tycoon father Li Ka-shing is known as Superman in SAR business circles, so - to mix a cartoon metaphor - this must be the Boy Wonder. While dad is the heaviest of heavyweights in the old world of property and ports, it is into the shiny new world of information technology that the son is stepping out of his father's shadow. Everyone knows about the Cyber-Port, the US$1.6 billion project to build a 64-acre e-commerce hub in Pokfulam which Richard Li masterminded. There is little doubt that will be a success, at least as a profit-making venture, even if the glamour concept of forming a community of information technology professionals is stripped away. For the Cyber-Port still has one foot planted in dad's safe territory, the property market. It is in a second, less publicised project that Mr Li will have to show his mettle. As a poster proclaiming the 'mission statement' for his listed vehicle Pacific Century CyberWorks proclaims, the company intends to 'create the world's largest broadband Internet business'. Next year, it is launching a hybrid network to beam an Internet link through space via a satellite to cable-TV operators across Asia, which will feed it into millions of homes. Or at least that is the plan, but the hurdles are daunting. So is he losing sleep? He chooses to respond in business speak: 'We are very comfortable with our strategy.' But have we not seen Motorola and partners spend billions setting up their Iridium go-anywhere mobile phone service, putting into orbit a fleet of expensive satellites, only for the project to flop? Mr Li retreats to familiar ground by invoking the case of the satellite television network he set up in 1990 at the tender age of 24. He invested US$125 million and sold it to Rupert Murdoch for $950 million five years later. 'There is also another [precedent] called Star which is delivering to 110 million homes. They have close to half a billion US dollars in revenue.' But he admits: 'They haven't turned a profit. If the aim is to turn a profit in the new medium and turn a profit quickly, I think it is a terrible mistake.' He disagrees with pessimists who contend that the Asian broadband project will become a financial quagmire. CyberWorks would have to invest at most only $600 million, he said, and where possible would get away with renting transponders on existing satellites. Profits are seven years away, he believes. 'We are turning profits on our venture side much sooner,' he said, referring to CyberWorks Ventures, an offshoot of his listed vehicle which has injected capital into 14 Internet firms. 'For every single cent that we have invested in ventures, those that went public already cover everything that we have invested and more. 'Hopefully there will be a profit every year unless the Internet bubble collapses.' So will it burst? 'I think there will be a consolidation. Do I think there will be a collapse? No. 'Whether the Internet as an industry will be making a profit, I believe, is undisputed. But whether it will be 10 years or 20 years, nobody knows. 'There's a book that I've only read a summary of called Blown to Bits . . . those who do not understand how [the Internet] will affect their own industry are going to be blown to bits.' These words say a lot about Mr Li. There is time to glance over a book cover but not sit down to read it. He works 60 or 65 hours a week and tries not to waste a second. He is even switched on when he takes a shower in his Mid-Levels apartment, thanks to a custom-fitted television tuned into CNBC. 'I would like to have 1.5 days off but usually I end up with one day,' he said. I read him a quote from an article about how he interviewed three candidates for the position of Star TV tea lady. 'I thought she was a key hire, since she'd be good for company morale by keeping everyone's spirits up,' he told the magazine. 'It was a mistake. I could have spent those minutes much better.' He confesses that he jealously guards his time and was that day resenting the poor air links from Hong Kong to New Delhi, which meant he would have to spend a whole Saturday in transit. Strangely for a qualified pilot, he relies on airlines instead of a private jet, confining his cockpit time to pleasure flips in a propeller-driven Cessna. He likes the thrill of landing on water with floats but away from North America and Europe he is confined to wheels and, these days, work has clipped his wings. 'Cut down my flying is an understatement. It has completely grounded me,' he said. Wong Toon King, head of Singapore Internet startup SilkRoute, in which Mr Li recently invested, believes we are seeing a slowed-down, mellowed-out man. 'I heard he was very arrogant and brash,' said Mr Wong. 'When I first saw him five years ago that was probably true. But I feel he has probably changed. He has mellowed. I like his style. He wears no tie and carries a back pack.' Mr Li, who is indeed tie-less, does not quite agree: 'I wouldn't say I've mellowed out. What I've realised is that I cannot manage everything myself. The only other way is to get good managers to be doing their work accordingly.' One subject said to raise his hackles is the mention of the 'F' word - father. Mr Li has just been named the DHL/South China Morning Post Businessman of the Year. A mention that Li Ka-shing won the first such award in 1990 elicits a quick response: 'I didn't even know that. I was told recently.' He deflects a question about the early principles learnt at his father's side. 'I think I'm still in the formative years. I think we all have to be formative going forward - with new things coming along.' And with that he signals the interview is over and literally jogs out of the room - there's no more time to waste.