The Internet Flier Who Fell To Earth

Dot-com doldrums have humbled Richard Li's portfolio

Lawrence B. Brilliant, the chairman and CEO of SoftNet Systems Inc., had big hopes for the alliance he cemented with his major shareholder, Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li. The founder of Pacific Century CyberWorks, Li paid $129 million for 23% of the San Francisco broadband Internet service provider in 1999. At the time, PCCW was on a tear: It was putting millions into Internet companies in the U.S. and Asia, creating a portfolio designed to turn PCCW into the Hong Kong equivalent of Japan's Softbank Corp.

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