Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman Li Ka-shing said privatising a company in Hong Kong these days was so difficult that it would be easier to close it down. Under stock market rules, any privatisation offer must be accepted by the holders of at least 90 per cent of minority shares for it to succeed. Mr Li said under such circumstances, 'whenever there are people stirring up issues, privatisation will be impossible. The easiest way to do it is to announce a complete closure of the company'. 'Some laws in Hong Kong follow those of Britain and the US. Very often, some of these laws are still kept even when overseas countries have abolished them,' he added, but did not say if he thought the laws in Hong Kong should be reviewed. Mr Li, who was speaking at Cheung Kong's annual meeting yesterday, emphasised that his comments were not being made in response to the failed privatisation of PCCW by Richard Li Tzar-kai, his younger son. An appeals court last month blocked the attempt to buy out the telecommunications operator and the case is now heading towards the Court of Final Appeal. Meanwhile, in the wake of the economic uncertainty, Mr Li said real estate was still good for investment. 'Depending on one's needs and taking into consideration one's financial capabilities when buying property, investing in property is not bad, with inflation expected to grow in two to three years and based on today's interest-rate levels.' Mr Li said after the announcement of his company's results in March that investors with cash should consider buying equities and property. Yesterday's comments were made as Hong Kong's gross domestic product fell 7.8 per cent in the first quarter, while home prices have jumped 13.3 per cent this year, according to Centaline Property Agency. 'If you can afford it, real estate is still a good investment,' Mr Li said. He said the Hang Seng Index had risen about 24 per cent since March, which made it difficult to say whether it would perform in line with the economy. However, the market always made a head start before the economy picked up. 'There are still problems with today's economy. It may not be bad buying shares of good quality companies,' he said. Even if the hot money that recently poured into Hong Kong stocks, estimated at HK$300 billion, flowed out again, it would not bring about a crash as the amount was relatively small compared with the total value of Hong Kong-listed companies, he said. Mr Li did not predict when Hong Kong's economy would hit bottom, but he said the mainland would be the first to recover and he was confident that Beijing's GDP target of 8 per cent would be achieved.