Li Ka-Shing

Awardees 2019

Mr Li Ka-shing is the Senior Advisor of CK Asset Holdings Limited and CK Hutchison Holdings Limited since 10 May 2018.

Prior to his current position, Mr Li had been Chairman of the two companies and, for the past 46 years, he has led the CK Group as Chairman on a steady path of diversification and globalisation through organic growth, mergers and acquisitions, and timely strategic reviews and reorganisations at appropriate junctures in order to maximise value and returns for shareholders.

Mr Li was born in 1928 in Chiu Chow, a coastal city in the southeastern part of China. Mr Li was forced to quit school when he was 12 and fled to Hong Kong with his family to avoid the perils of war. Shortly thereafter, his father suffered from tuberculosis and passed away in Hong Kong. Before he was 15, Mr Li had to shoulder the responsibility of providing for his family and found a job in a plastics trading company where he labored 16 hours a day. By 1950, his hard work, prudence and his pursuit of excellence had enabled him to start his own company, Cheung Kong Industries. From manufacturing plastics, Mr Li led and developed his company into a leading real estate investment company in Hong Kong that was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972. Cheung Kong continued to expand by acquiring Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited (renamed Power Assets Holdings Limited) in 1979 and 1985 respectively.

With roots in Hong Kong, the CK Group’s businesses now span the globe, encompassing such diverse areas as ports and related services, retail, infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, property development and investment, hotel and serviced suite operation, property and project management, aircraft leasing and life sciences. Mr Li is a strong believer in synergy—the power of combined efforts. This belief is reflected in his naming his company Cheung Kong after the Yangtze River that flows through China, a great river that aggregates countless streams and tributaries. The Times in the United Kingdom and Ernst & Young UK jointly named Mr Li as the Entrepreneur of the Millennium at the turn of the century.

Established in 1980, the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) work on education, medical services and research initiatives. To date, Mr Li has invested over HK$26 billion across 27 countries and regions, with about 80% of the projects within the Greater China region. In 2006, Mr Li described his philanthropic effort as akin to having another son in the family. He called for a paradigm shift in our Asian culture of giving, through apportioning more of our wealth and means towards social capital so that we could bring forth great hope and promises for the future.

In 1981, Mr. Li founded Shantou University (STU), the only privately funded public university in China with earmarked grants of over HK$10 billion to date. STU is the cornerstone project of the foundation and a platform to instigate reforms in the higher education sector in China. To date, Shantou University has educated over 150,000 students, including more than 50,000 medical school students.

In recognition of his philanthropic efforts and his contributions to society, Mr Li has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Cambridge, the University of Calgary in Canada, Peking University, and the University of Hong Kong, among others. Mr Li, a Justice of the Peace, has also received the Grand Officer of the Order Vasco Nunez de Balboa from Panama, Commandeur de l’Ordre de Léopold from Belgium, Knight (Commander of the Order) of the British Empire, the Grand Bauhinia Medal of Hong Kong, and the Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur from the French Government.

Mr Li has two sons. The elder son, Victor, now serves as Chairman and Group Co-Managing Director of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, Chairman and Managing Director of CK Asset Holdings Limited, and Chairman of CK Infrastructure Holdings Limited and CK Life Sciences Int’l., (Holdings) Inc. Mr Li’s younger son, Richard, is Chairman of PCCW, one of Asia’s leading information technology and telecommunications companies.