Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing Says Wealth ‘Underestimated’

Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man, said his fortune is at least 40 percent underestimated and that he won’t “admit” to being a Hong Kong mogul.

“I think it’s not important if you are a tycoon or not,” the 85-year-old billionaire told reporters today at Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. (1) earnings briefing in Hong Kong. “It’s more important if your life is meaningful or not, if people trust you; people admire and don’t despise you.”

Li has a net worth of $29.2 billion, making him the 22nd-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The majority of his wealth consists of stakes in publicly traded companies, including property developer Cheung Kong, Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (13) and Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc. (HSE)

Other publicly listed holdings include Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd. (215) and Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. (1038), according to Laura Cheung, a spokeswoman for Li, who provided the information in an e-mailed statement on Jan. 8, 2014.

Cheung Kong, which accounts for more than half of Li’s net worth, said today 2013 profit rose to HK$35.3 billion ($4.5 billion) from HK$32 billion a year ago. Hutchison Whampoa’s net income climbed 20 percent to HK$31.1 billion last year.

“In at least the past 10 years, foreign magazines had underestimated my worth by half,” Li said, without identifying the publications. “Why? They don’t regard Husky as mine. Actually I am the biggest shareholder in Husky, slightly more than Hutchison. That’s a personal investment. But I don’t bother to point out. It’s better they write it less. What’s the use if they write it as more?”

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index includes Li’s stake in Husky in its calculations, crediting him with direct holdings of almost 350 million shares of the company. The stake is valued at $10.5 billion, representing about a third of his fortune.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michael Wei in Shanghai at mwei13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew G. Miller at mmiller144@bloomberg.net

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