Li Ka Shing, Hutchison Whampoa

In Hong Kong, 72-year-old Li Ka-shing is called Superman. The soft-spoken, mild-mannered Li is one of the few Asian tycoons who has managed to move successfully outside a protected home market. His conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (HUWHY), is the world's largest independent port operator, with facilities everywhere from China to Panama to Britain. Control of Canada's Husky Energy Inc. has given Li a big boost from rising oil prices. And his decision to sell his stake in the British telecom company Orange PLC in late 1999 sparked a rush into European telecoms. By the time the dealmaking was complete in February, Li and other Hutchison shareholders had netted a $22 billion profit.

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