Inside the Global Empire Run by Hong Kong’s Richest Man

Li Ka-shing may be Hong Kong’s richest man but his influence extends globally with business interests spanning across more than 50 countries. Though the 87-year-old tycoon has earned the nickname “Superman” for his business acumen, his magic appears to be wearing off lately as two of his $10-billion-plus deals were blocked in the past year. More headwinds loom for Li, one of the biggest foreign investors in the U.K., after Britain voted to exit the European Union.

Richer Than Ballmer

Li has been locked in a three-way battle this year with Wanda’s Wang Jianlin and Alibaba’s Jack Ma for the title of Asia’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Worldwide, he ranks 24th – which makes him wealthier than billionaires such as investor George Soros or former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.

Globetrotter

The 87-year-old tycoon’s business empire includes real estate, seaports, mobile phones, supermarkets, aircraft leasing, and oil. CK Hutchison Holdings, his main holding company for nonproperty assets, had operations in 56 countries as of the end of 2015.

Ports

Li is invested in 48 ports in 25 countries, including port facilities on both ends of the Panama Canal.
  • Asia-Pacific
    • Hong Kong
    • Indonesia
    • China
    • Malaysia
    • Myanmar
    • Pakistan
    • South Korea
    • Thailand
    • Vietnam
    • Australia
  • Europe
    • Belgium
    • Germany
    • Poland
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Netherlands
    • United Kingdom
  • Americas
    • Argentina
    • Mexico
    • Panama
    • Bahamas
  • Africa
    • Tanzania
  • Middle East
    • Egypt
    • Oman
    • Saudi Arabia
    • U.A.E.

Retail

From Watsons in Asia to Kruidvat in Europe, Li’s retail division has 12,000 stores across 25 markets.
  • Asia-Pacific
    • Hong Kong
    • Indonesia
    • Macau
    • China
    • Malaysia
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan
    • Thailand
    • Philippines
  • Europe
    • Albania
    • Belgium
    • Czech Republic
    • Germany
    • Hungary
    • Ireland
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Poland
    • Russia
    • Netherlands
    • Ukraine
    • United Kingdom
  • Americas
    • no presence
  • Africa
    • no presence
  • Middle East
    • Turkey

Infrastructure

Li’s investments include water, wind, gas, rail, and aircraft leasing.
  • Asia-Pacific
    • Hong Kong
    • China
    • Thailand
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
  • Europe
    • Ireland
    • Portugal
    • Netherlands
    • United Kingdom
  • Americas
    • Canada
  • Africa
    • no presence
  • Middle East
    • no presence

Energy

Li owns Canada-based Husky Energy, which also operates in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.
  • Asia-Pacific
    • Indonesia
    • China
    • Taiwan
    • Thailand
  • Europe
    • no presence
  • Americas
    • Canada
    • United States
  • Africa
    • no presence
  • Middle East
    • no presence

Telecommunications

Li’s “3” brand provides phone services in Europe and Asia.
  • Asia-Pacific
    • Hong Kong
    • Indonesia
    • Macau
    • Sri Lanka
    • Vietnam
    • Australia
  • Europe
    • Austria
    • Denmark
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Sweden
    • United Kingdom
  • Americas
    • no presence
  • Africa
    • no presence
  • Middle East
    • no presence

Other

Li’s other investments include health care and water treatment.
  • Asia-Pacific
    • Hong Kong
    • Japan
    • China
    • Singapore
    • Taiwan
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
  • Europe
    • Austria
    • Czech Republic
    • France
    • Hungary
    • Italy
    • Luxembourg
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Slovakia
    • Spain
    • Switzerland
    • United Kingdom
  • Americas
    • Canada
    • United States
  • Africa
    • Morocco
  • Middle East
    • Israel

Breaking It Down

Though headquartered in Hong Kong, CK Hutchison generates most of its profit from Europe. The U.K. is its biggest market in Europe, accounting for 34% of its profit in the region.

Angel Investor

Li’s Horizons Ventures invests primarily in early and midstage technology startups and many have gone on to be very successful.

Facebook
Social network
Li invested $120M between 2007 and 2008
Went public in 2012
Spotify
World's biggest music streaming service
Li invested in 2009
Airbnb
Online community marketplace for accommodations
Li’s investment announced in a blog post in 2015
Waze
Crowdsourced traffic information application
Li invested in 2011
Acquired by Google in 2013
Siri
Voice-activated digital assistant
Acquired by Apple in 2010
Skype
Online telecommunications services company
Li invested in 2005
Acquired by Microsoft in 2011
DeepMind
Artificial intelligence startup
Acquired by Google in 2014
Blockstream
Bitcoin-focused venture
Li invested in February 2016
Humin
Phone contact list application
Acquired by Tinder in 2016
Impossible Foods
Makes imitation meats and cheeses entirely from plants
Li invested in 2015
Microsoft founder Bill Gates also invested
Ambidio
Immersive audio technology
Musician will.i.am also invested
Slack
Popular work-collaboration platform
Li invested $50 million in 2015