Who is Li Ka-shing?
Li Ka-shing is a name that resonates with business excellence, wealth, and philanthropy. He is a living legend in the world of entrepreneurship, having built an empire from humble beginnings.
Born in China and raised in Hong Kong, Li Ka-shing has become one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Asia. He is the founder of Cheung Kong Industries, one of the largest conglomerates in Asia, with businesses spanning from real estate and infrastructure to telecommunications and retail.
Li Ka-shing is not just a successful businessman; he is also a renowned philanthropist, having donated billions of dollars to charitable causes over the years. His life story is one of perseverance, hard work, and determination, making him a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs and business leaders worldwide.
In this biography, we will delve into the fascinating life and achievements of Li Ka-shing, from his humble beginnings to his rise as one of the most influential business leaders of our time.
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Li Ka-shing Personal Info
Name: Li Ka-shing
DOB: July 29, 1928
Birthplace: Chaozhou, Guangdong, China.
Education: University of Hong Kong
Wife/Partner: Widower – Single
Hometown: Hong Kong
Famous As: The “Superman” of Hong Kong due to his extraordinary business success and philanthropic endeavors.
Li Ka-Shing’s Early Life
Li Ka-Shing was born on July 29, 1928, in Chaozhou, a city in the Guangdong province of China. He was the eldest of seven children, born to a family of modest means. His father, Li Yunjing, was a school principal, while his mother, Chan Kiu-ying, was a homemaker. The family lived in a small apartment in a crowded part of the city, where Li Ka-shing shared a bed with his siblings.
During his childhood, Li Ka-shing witnessed the hardship and poverty that plagued China during the early 20th century. His family struggled to make ends meet, and Li Ka-shing had to work odd jobs to help support the household. He would sell snacks on the street, wash dishes in a restaurant, and work as a clerk in a watch shop.
Despite the challenges, Li Ka-shing was a bright and ambitious child, with a hunger for knowledge and a desire to succeed. He was a diligent student and excelled academically, earning a scholarship to study at the Ningbo Junior High School in Zhejiang province. However, his education was interrupted when the Second World War broke out, and he was forced to return to Chaozhou.
In 1940, when Li Ka-shing was 12 years old, his father died, leaving the family in dire straits. To help support his family, Li Ka-shing took up a job as an apprentice at a watch-strap factory, where he worked long hours and received a meager salary. However, the experience taught him valuable lessons about hard work, discipline, and perseverance.
Despite the hardships, Li Ka-shing never lost his passion for learning. He spent his spare time reading books, studying English, and developing his entrepreneurial skills. At the age of 15, he started his first business, selling homemade plastic flowers to local traders.
Li Ka-shing’s childhood and family background were marked by poverty and struggle. However, his determination and resilience helped him overcome these challenges and paved the way for his future success.
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Li Ka-shing’s Education
Li Ka-shing’s education was marked by a strong commitment to learning, despite the many challenges he faced growing up in poverty.
After returning to Chaozhou from Ningbo Junior High School due to the Second World War, Li Ka-shing continued his studies at the Chaozhou No. 1 National School. However, he was forced to drop out at the age of 15 when his father passed away.
Li Ka-shing continued to pursue learning on his own. He read voraciously, devoured books on business, economics, and management, and taught himself English by listening to the radio and practicing with a dictionary.
In 1947, at the age of 19, Li Ka-shing resumed his education by enrolling in a two-year program in metallurgy at the Hong Kong Technical College. He excelled in his studies, graduating at the top of his class and earning a scholarship to study electrical engineering at the University of Hong Kong.
While studying at the university, Li Ka-shing continued to hone his entrepreneurial skills. He started a small plastic manufacturing company with a partner and began supplying toys and other plastic products to local businesses. The company grew rapidly, and Li Ka-shing dropped out of university in 1950 to focus on the business full-time.
Despite not completing his degree, Li Ka-shing continued to prioritize education throughout his career. He attended numerous management courses and workshops, including the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, and was a lifelong learner.
Li Ka-shing’s education was characterized by a strong commitment to learning, self-discipline, and perseverance. He never stopped pursuing knowledge and continued to prioritize education throughout his career.
Li Ka-shing’s Career
Li Ka-shing’s career was marked by his entrepreneurial spirit, determination, and innovative approach to business. His early years were characterized by his ability to spot opportunities and turn them into successful ventures.
After dropping out of university, Li Ka-shing founded a small plastic manufacturing company with a partner in Hong Kong. The company grew rapidly and diversified into other areas, including property development and trading. In 1958, Li Ka-shing founded Cheung Kong Industries, which would become the cornerstone of his business empire.
Under Li Ka-shing’s leadership, Cheung Kong Industries grew rapidly, expanding into a range of industries including telecommunications, retail, energy, and infrastructure. Li Ka-shing was a master of diversification, spreading his risk across different sectors and geographies to create a resilient and profitable business portfolio.
One of Li Ka-shing’s key strengths was his ability to anticipate market trends and capitalize on emerging opportunities. In the 1970s, he recognized the potential of emerging Asian markets and expanded his business into Southeast Asia. He also invested heavily in the telecommunications industry, recognizing its potential to transform the way people communicate and do business.
In the 1980s, Li Ka-shing made a series of strategic acquisitions, including the purchase of a controlling stake in Hutchison Whampoa, a major conglomerate with interests in ports, telecommunications, and real estate. The acquisition marked a turning point for Li Ka-shing, transforming him into one of the most influential and powerful business leaders in the world.
Li Ka-shing’s success as a business leader can be attributed to his skillful anticipation of market trends and his ability to seize emerging opportunities. He coupled these strengths with his dedication to efficiency and innovation, which enabled him to establish a vast business empire and become a highly influential and prosperous entrepreneur of his era.
Li Ka-shing’s Net Worth
Li Ka-shing is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, with a net worth that has fluctuated over the years due to changes in the value of his business interests and investments. As of March 29, 2023, according to Forbes, his real-time net worth was $37.8 billion.
Li Ka-shing’s net worth has been built primarily through his business interests, including his holdings in the property development and infrastructure sectors, as well as his investments in telecommunications, energy, and other industries. He has also made significant investments in technology companies, including Facebook and Spotify, which have contributed to his wealth.
Throughout his career, Li Ka-shing has amassed a vast fortune through his entrepreneurial vision, strategic acumen, and innovative approach to business. He has been a master of diversification, spreading his risk across different sectors and geographies to create a resilient and profitable business portfolio.
Li Ka-shing’s Personal Life
Li Ka-shing is known for his humble demeanor and down-to-earth personality. He values his personal life and keeps it separate from his business affairs. He is married with two children and has maintained a close relationship with his family throughout his career.
Li Ka-shing is also known for his discipline, efficiency, and rigorous management style. He is a voracious reader and a lifelong learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge and understanding of the world.
Outside of business, Li Ka-shing has a wide range of interests and hobbies. He is an avid golfer and has been known to enjoy fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. He is also a collector of fine art and antiques, with a particular interest in Chinese ceramics.
Despite his immense wealth and success, Li Ka-shing remains grounded and focused on using his resources to make a positive difference in the world. He has donated generously to charitable causes, including education and healthcare, and established the Li Ka-shing Foundation to support social initiatives.
Li Ka-shing Parents
Li Ka-shing was born to parents who were both educators. His father, Li Yunjing, was a principal at a local school, while his mother, Tseu-Eng, was a teacher. Both of his parents played a significant role in shaping his values and outlook on life.
Li Ka-shing’s father, Li Yunjing, was a highly respected figure in the community and a strong advocate for education. He instilled in his son a deep appreciation for learning and the importance of hard work and dedication. Despite the family’s limited financial means, Li Yunjing made sure that his son received a solid education, providing him with opportunities to attend top schools in the region.
Li Ka-shing’s mother, Tseu-Eng, was also a significant influence on his life. She was a strong and resourceful woman who taught her son the importance of perseverance and resilience. She was instrumental in helping the family weather the challenges of World War II and the Communist takeover of China, encouraging her son to stay focused on his goals and never give up.
Both of Li Ka-shing’s parents passed away when he was still a young man, but their legacy has continued to inspire him throughout his life. He has often spoken about the profound impact that his parents had on his values and outlook on life, and he has dedicated himself to honoring their memory through his own accomplishments and philanthropy.
Li Ka-shing Siblings
Li Ka-shing has three siblings. Here is a brief overview of each of them:
- Li Ka-chiu: Li Ka-chiu is the younger brother of Li Ka-shing. He is a Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist who has been involved in the management of various companies, including Cheung Kong Infrastructure, since the 1990s. He has also been a director of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, which supports education, medical research, and other charitable causes.
- Li Ka-chiu: Li Ka-chiu is another younger brother of Li Ka-shing. He is a businessman who has been involved in the management of several companies, including CK Hutchison Holdings, which is one of the largest companies in Hong Kong. He is also a director of the Li Ka Shing Foundation.
- Li Ka-sue: Li Ka-sue is the older brother of Li Ka-shing. He was involved in the shipping industry and was the founder of a shipping company called Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited. After his retirement in the 1980s, he transferred his business interests to his younger brothers, Li Ka-shing and Li Ka-chiu.
The Li brothers have been influential figures in the business world and have made significant contributions to charitable causes through the Li Ka Shing Foundation.
Li Ka-shing’s Wife (Partner)
Li Ka-shing married Chong Yuet Ming in 1963, and the couple has two sons, Victor Li and Richard Li.
Chong Yuet Ming was known for being a devoted wife and mother, supporting her husband throughout his successful business career. She passed away in 1990 after a long battle with cancer, leaving Li Ka-shing to raise their two sons on his own.
Li Ka-shing has spoken publicly about the impact that his wife’s passing had on him, calling it the “biggest challenge” of his life. He has also expressed deep gratitude for the support of his family and friends during this difficult time.
In the years following his wife’s passing, Li Ka-shing has largely kept his personal life out of the public eye. He has focused on his business ventures and philanthropic efforts, dedicating himself to making a positive impact on the world.
Li Ka-shing Children
Li Ka-shing has two sons, Victor Li and Richard Li, who have both achieved notable success in their own right.
Victor was born in 1964. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. Victor Li has been involved in his father’s businesses since a young age and has served as the Chairman and Managing Director of Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, a subsidiary of the Cheung Kong Group. He is also the Chairman of CK Asset Holdings, which oversees the real estate and investment interests of the group. Victor Li is known for being an astute businessman and has played a key role in the growth and success of the family’s business empire.
Richard was born in 1966. He also attended Stanford University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a Master of Science degree in Engineering-Economic Systems. Richard Li has been involved in a wide range of businesses throughout his career, including telecommunications, media, and finance. He founded PCCW Limited, a telecommunications company, and has served as the Chairman of Pacific Century Group, a private investment group. Richard Li is known for his entrepreneurial spirit and innovative approach to business.
Both Victor and Richard Li are active in their father’s philanthropic efforts and have also been involved in several other charitable initiatives.
Li Ka-shing’s Challenges and Obstacles
Li Ka-shing has faced numerous challenges and obstacles throughout his life, from personal tragedies to professional setbacks.
- Li Ka-shing grew up in poverty, with his family struggling to make ends meet. He had to drop out of school at a young age to work and help support his family, which limited his opportunities for education and advancement.
- During World War II, Li Ka-shing and his family were forced to flee Hong Kong when it was occupied by Japanese forces. This experience left a lasting impact on him and shaped his worldview and approach to business.
- Li Ka-shing’s early business ventures were not always successful. He experienced numerous setbacks, including failed partnerships and financial losses. However, he learned from these experiences and used them to develop his skills as an entrepreneur.
- Li Ka-shing’s wife, Chong Yuet Ming, passed away in 1990 after a long battle with cancer. This was a significant personal loss for him and had a profound impact on his life and business career.
Li Ka-shing has has used his experiences to develop resilience, adaptability, and a strong work ethic, which have helped him overcome obstacles and achieve his goals.
Li Ka-shing Accomplishments
Li Ka-shing has accomplished numerous feats throughout his life, both in his personal and professional spheres.
- Li Ka-shing is one of the wealthiest people in the world. He built his business empire from scratch, starting with a plastic flower factory in the 1950s and expanding into diverse industries such as real estate, telecommunications, and retail. Today, his companies employ tens of thousands of people around the world and generate billions of dollars in revenue each year.
- Li Ka-shing is a well-known philanthropist and has donated billions of dollars to various causes over the years. He established the Li Ka Shing Foundation in 1980 to support education, medical research, and cultural initiatives in Hong Kong and around the world. He has also made significant contributions to disaster relief efforts, including donating millions of dollars to aid victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.
- Li Ka-shing is a strong advocate for education and has made significant contributions to the field. He has donated millions of dollars to support research and education initiatives in Hong Kong and around the world. He has also established scholarship programs to support talented students in pursuing their academic and professional goals.
Li Ka-shing’s accomplishments are numerous and far-reaching, reflecting his commitment to entrepreneurship, philanthropy, leadership, education, and environmentalism. His legacy is sure to continue to inspire and influence future generations of leaders and innovators.
Li Ka-shing Recognition and Awards
Li Ka-shing has received numerous awards and recognitions for his contributions to business, philanthropy, and society.
- Grand Bauhinia Medal – Hong Kong’s highest honor, awarded for outstanding service to the community.
- Legion of Honor – France’s highest award, presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to society.
- Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) – awarded by the British government for services to business and charity.
- Order of Canada – one of Canada’s highest civilian honors, awarded for extraordinary contributions to the country.
- Honorary Doctorates – Li Ka-shing has received numerous honorary doctorates from universities around the world, including Harvard University, University of Cambridge, and Peking University.
- Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award – awarded by Forbes magazine for Li Ka-shing’s significant contributions to business and philanthropy.
- Asia Game Changer Award – presented by the Asia Society to individuals who have made a positive impact on Asia and the world.
- China Reform Friendship Medal – awarded by the Chinese government to individuals who have made significant contributions to the country’s reform and development.
- Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship – presented by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to individuals who have demonstrated exemplary corporate citizenship and leadership.
- Clinton Global Citizen Award – presented by the Clinton Foundation to individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the world.
These awards and recognitions are a testament to Li Ka-shing’s impact and influence, both in the business world and society more broadly.
Li Ka-shing’s life and career have been nothing short of extraordinary. From humble beginnings to becoming one of the wealthiest and most influential businessmen in the world, Li’s legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire and motivate future generations of entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
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