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Property Entrepreneurs: Asia’s Property Tycoon

Li Ka Shing, known to the world as one of the wealthiest entrepreneur and businessman in China and also the only Chinese man to be at the Top 10 Richest people in the world with an asset of USD $22 billion. Being raised from a humble background, Li made his fortune, starting with Hong Kong, and then China and subsequently spread his wealth across Asia from the real estate, transportation, retail and commodity markets. His more recent interest in shares on Facebook also caught the world by surprise. It is no wonder that he is known as Asia’s property tycoon and master of deal making.

Li Ka Shing was born in Chaozhou, a rural area located in the Guangdon province in China in 1928. Li would not have discovered his flare for entrepreneurship without first following his family to flea to Hong Kong after the political unrest in mainland China in 1940. There, he stayed with his wealthy uncle who was at that time, making his inroads into the property and commodity businesses. This ignited the young Li’s interest to take entrepreneurship seriously and to learn from his uncle and his immediate family members. Eager to change the fate of his family, now poor, Li was determined to succeed.

By 1950, he started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries and first endeavoured into plastic manufacturing. Due to the boom in the deman for plastic materials with a growing market in Hong Kong, Li cleverly saw opportunities to invest in the shrinking land space on the island state, and hence got involved with property development. By 1972, Li saw his group of companies being listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and it was this time, marked by followers of Li’s story as a the Golden Age where he started acquiring other companies. During this time, Cheung Kong expanded by buying up Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited.

More recently, through the Li Ka Shing Foundation acquired 0.8% of stakes in social networking giant, Facebook for USD $120 million in two separate rounds of purchases. For a traditional entrepreneur from China, Li Ka Shing was a visionary to have invested his interest on music streaming service Spotify and even was said to have funded Siri, the artificial intelligence based virtual personal assistant application for the iPhone.

From inspirational entrepreneurs success story like these, we often find where the entrepreneurs of the yesteryears built their wealth from the traditional businesses like real estate, commodities and retails, ventures that require quite a substantial of capital investment to begin with. However, we are also seeing how these entrepreneurs are never blinded from pursuing trends in the future, as evidenced through Li Ka Shing’s more recent investments these few years back.

For Li Ka Shing, he will always remain as one of China, Hong Kong and the world’s most celebrated entrepreneur. A person to have started his entrepreneurial endeavours because he was driven to change the fate of his family and to learn.


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