A big-spending bachelor known as 'Superman Junior' has struck the deal that may finally see him recognised as a tycoon in his own right - rather than just the high-flying son of his father. Richard Li Tzar-kai has for years struggled to escape the shadow of his famous family and is now on the road to eclipsing the success of the man who made it all possible. 'He wants to be the biggest in Hong Kong - he doesn't want people to call him the second son of Li Ka-shing,' an associate said yesterday. 'From day one, he's wanted to show he can do it on his own.' At 33, Richard Li has made almost as much money in a year as his father did during 50 years as Hong Kong's property king; the value of his company, Pacific Century, last month overtook that of global Web giant amazon.com. A television in his shower and a private jet used for urgent business meetings are testament to his vast wealth, which also funded a private concert by Whitney Houston at his New Year's Eve party last year. 'He flashes his money around,' a friend said. 'It's quite extravagant.' Mr Li was born into what is now the world's 10th-richest family; he lives in an exclusive apartment block in Old Peak Road and is building a mansion at Shek O. He is said to negotiate multibillion-dollar deals within a few hours, shouting 'Done!' when he is ready to move on. Family money funded the beginnings of his business empire, but the fast-talking computer engineering graduate has had to sweat for his success. His crew-cut hairstyle, reluctance to wear a tie and his preference for a backpack over a briefcase belie his seriousness for work. He puts in up to 65 hours a week and demands the same kind of passion for success from his staff. 'He's very aggressive . . . a lot of women end up crying, the way he screams at them,' a source said. 'He rewards them quite well but he's very demanding. 'When he rings, he doesn't care whether it's daytime or the middle of the night. 'If it's four in the afternoon and he's in New York, he doesn't care that it's four in the morning here - he doesn't make a note to ring someone in the morning. 'He just calls and often it's just for trivial things, but everything, according to him, is important. 'An hour later he'll call back and say 'what have you done about it?' - it's four in the morning but that's no excuse for him.' Mr Li makes no apologies for his brash manner. He has admitted running his first business hit, Star TV, like a 'sweatshop'. 'I didn't have time to tell people why they were wrong and why I wasn't taking their opinion,' he said after selling the company to Rupert Murdoch in 1993. 'There wasn't any time. There was a whole load of work in front of me. 'It's not a bad atmosphere, crunching out work and getting cracking on the job.' Some say he has mellowed since then; Mr Li insists he has not softened his grip but learned to delegate and now leaves the whip-cracking to his management team. By all accounts, Richard has a cool relationship with his father, who favours his brother and heir-apparent, Victor. At age 13, Richard was sent to study in California, living in a lavish apartment and eating junk food between classes. He graduated from Stanford University and the London Business School, later joining investment house Gordon Capital in Toronto and taking up Canadian citizenship. Returning to Hong Kong in 1990, he took US$125 million in (HK$967 million) seed money from his father and founded Star TV, which carried the region's first satellite television service to 50 countries. He sold it three years later for US$950 million, which he used in 1993 to start up Pacific Century CyberWorks. People who deal with Mr Li are struck by his passion and energy. Dubbed the 'Golden Bachelor' in the Chinese press, he has attracted his share of female attention, yet until recently he seems to have had little time for women. His disinterest is said to have broken many hearts. He met girlfriend Karen Lam - who appeared on his arm at the New Year's Eve party and was with him last year when he scuffled with a press photographer trying to snap the couple as they emerged from a Festival Walk cinema - when she worked at Pacific Century. She has since left the company and is studying at the University of Hong Kong. 'He's very generous when it comes to girlfriends,' a source said, adding that Mr Li was also fond of spending on himself. A qualified pilot, he is said to have spent US$7 million on a private jet he uses to save time when travelling for business and has several boats, including a luxury yacht. He even has a television set - tuned into CNBC - fitted in his shower. His television business interests are only recreational, with the fast world of the Internet now his oyster. Mr Li believes his refusal to be daunted by technology is part of the reason for his success. And while he has said he wants to head the biggest company in Asia, he has told the South China Morning Post it is not all about having luxuries on tap. 'To me, money and power are important but certainly not compared to something that you can feel proud of and comfortable with yourself that you're not taking handouts,' he said.