Hong Kong’s richest man retires at 89

HONG KONG • Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka Shing yesterday brought down the curtain on a storied career, saying he had done “the best I can”.

The 89-year old, known affectionately in the financial hub as “Superman” for his business acumen, stepped down as chairman of his flagship company CK Hutchison and handed the reins to his eldest son Victor after an upbeat annual general meeting.

A wartime refugee who came to Hong Kong from mainland China, Mr Li got his start in 1950 making plastic flowers, before building a sprawling conglomerate that has become part of the fabric of Hong Kong life, ranging from internet services to supermarket chains.

He greeted a large crowd of reporters with open arms and big smiles yesterday, saying: “One person’s ability cannot bring about change. It requires everyone to work together and share a dream.”

Asked about his proudest achievement he said: “I’ve done the best I can.” He told reporters: “I will miss you all... you have always been my friends.”

Mr Li announced his retirement in mid-March when his companies released their full-year results, finally ending mounting speculation about his plans. A sweeping revamp of his vast empire in 2015 was seen as a sign that he was paving the way for his son to take over.

Mr Li said he now plans to focus on his charity, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, to which he has pledged a third of his assets. It funds education and health initiatives around the world.

He has an estimated fortune of over US$33.3 billion (S$44.6 billion), according to Bloomberg and Forbes.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline ''. Print Edition | Subscribe