Li Ka-shing's Remedy for 'Coddled' HK
(Hong Kong) -- Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing is again in the media spotlight after he mentioned in late February the possibility of publicly listing his retail business A.S. Watson Group, which is part of the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.
"No matter what, if Watsons was to list in two locations, Hong Kong will definitely be one of them," Li said.
There has been speculation that Li is preparing to pass the torch to his oldest son, Victor Li, because he did not host a press conference for the company's results announcement last year. But the 85-year-old billionaire told reporters on February 28: "I'm not considering retirement."
In July, Hutchison Whampoa announced a plan to sell Hong Kong supermarket chain ParknShop, raising speculation Li will transfer his business operations overseas. This prompted some criticism, but in November, he met with the media to say he is not pulling up stakes, calling the speculation nonsense.
Li grew up in poverty, and has seen his fortune grow amid great changes in Hong Kong's society. The people of the city seem to be changing their view of Li. A decade ago he was seen as "Superman Li," but now many say his family controls too many aspects of their lives, from daily necessities to utilities and property.
Many people say Hong Kong's declining economic status in the region is supported by such discontent regarding the rich. Ye Xiang, a former advisor of the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission, said that as the relationship between the former British colony and the mainland grows closer, some of the city's residents believe that they have not enjoyed the benefits equally.
Li says the rise of populism in the city is dangerous. "Hong Kong is like a coddled child," he said. "If this kind of popular sentiment festers, it could very well impair the Hong Kong as we know it beyond our recognition in a few years."
Li has spoken to Caixin several times recently about the development of Hong Kong and his own business strategy. The following is the first of a two-part series:
Caixin: What is behind the rise of populism in Hong Kong in recent years? What do you think the solution is?
- Why Do Foreign Brands 'Break Bad' in China?
- Sea of People
- UnionPay Said to Hand Payment Firms Hefty Fines over Illegal Operations
- CBRC Approves Three Private Banks as Part of Pilot
- The Week in Photos: July 19 – 25
- Another Headache for the EU: Ukraine's Separatists
- Courage to Liberty
- 60-Second News for July 25: Unemployment Statistics
- SAIC, Alibaba Agree to Cooperate on Internet-Enabled Cars
- Mountains Moved
- Sign up to receive our free daily newsletter
- How the Hammer Falls as China Nails Corruption
- CNPC Continues to Be Hit by Scandal as Two More Executives Fall
- Market Reforms, Fight against Corruption Go Hand in Hand, Expert Says
- Getting a Healthy Interest in Medical Tourism
- What Li Keqiang Asks in Meetings with Economists
- Qingdao Port Warehouse Receipts Forged with Phony Seals, Says Source
- Alibaba Said to Delay New York Listing until after Labor Day
- Graft Fight Will Take Years, U.S. Expert Says, but China Is Heading in Right Direction
- The Lost Soldier of Myitkyina
- Beijing Monorail Plan Earns Ire Among Residents