Li-Ka Shing – Rags to Riches Story

Li-Ka Shing is a famous Hong Kong business mogul and philanthropist. He is said to be the richest man in Hong Kong and the richest man in Asia according to different statistics and reports. He is currently the chairman of the CK Hutchinson Holdings which is one of the most popular developer, port investor and operator and also the largest health and beauty retailer in the Asia.

Shing has been named as the “Asia’s most powerful man” by the Asiaweek in the year 2001. The companies that he owns makes up around 4% of the total stock market exchange in Hong Kong. Apart from being such an influential personality, Shing is also known for his philanthropic activities where he has donated more than $2 billion to charities.

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Early life and education

Li-Ka Shing was born on June 13, 1928 in Guangdong, China. Shing’s childhood was not something that was easy and effortless, rather the opposite. The political state of China was very fragile back in those days. China was in constant war with Japan at that time which led to dropping of bombs in frequent intervals. The entire family later relocated to Hong Kong to ensure their safety.

Shing’s father was a school principal and passed away when he was just 14 years old. It was probably one of the worst traumas of his life when he has to witness the death of his father due to tuberculosis. The entire family was in a distraught because the only source of income to the family was gone then. It was then that Shing had to take responsibility of the entire family at the age of 14.

Shing gave up his education and later started working in a Plastic factory. He had to work around 16 hours a day to make plastic watches but even that was not enough to make the ends meet. The situation at his house became even worse when he himself was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and had to be kept isolated. The family had to sell his late father’s clothes to feed themselves.

After recovering from the disease, Shing was set to fight back all the setbacks and did just the same. He resumed his work in the Plastic factory but soon resigned from there with the mindset to start his own business.


  • Li-Ka Shing has been married and has two sons, Viktor Li and Richard Li who also help in running the family business.

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Following resigning from the Plastic factory, Shing was set on starting his own business with the little savings and the money that he borrowed from his relatives.

Plastic manufacturing

Shing learnt about the plants and the factories and later decided to start his own. He invested all his saved money along with some borrowed from his relatives to start his own plastic manufacturing company. He did a thorough research all throughout the country to find out what was in demand and started manufacturing plastic flowers.

It was later that he prepared the plant with the best techniques and tools and presented it to a foreign buyer. They were so impressed that they placed an order which took the company to great heights of success. Soon, the company became one of the largest plastic flower suppliers in the Asia.

Real estate

Shing has always been very well known for his intellect and strategies. Owing the political unrest during 1958, Shing decided to divulge his interests in real estate. He very well knew that the situation is not going to be the same all the time and would get better eventually. This was the major reason that he started buying pieces of land in lower prices.

Shing later formed his own real estate agency in the year 1971 and named it as Cheung Kong. The company was made public in the Hong Kong stock market in the year 1972.

Other businesses

After the success in plastic manufacturing and real estate, he went and acquired the flagship company, Hutchinson Whampao Limited. The business channelled several new roads for the business encircling ports around the world including several places like that of China, Canada, United Kingdom and the list goes on.

Shing even invested in retail business and became owner of the A.S. Watson Group which is a retail operator that has a cumulative number of 12,000 stores across the globe. The retail chain has brands including Superdrug, Marionnaud et cetera in the Europe and several other beauty and health related products in the Asian countries.

Another great business strategy made by Shing was the idea of asset trading in which the company sets up new businesses and later sells them for a better profit margin.

Li-Ka ShingNet worth

Li-Ka Shing has an estimated net worth of $31 billion. He is the 19th richest person in the world, and the richest in Hong Kong.

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