Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, announced Friday he is retiring. Aged 89, Li will stay on as a advisor, while handing over his diverse conglomerate to his elder son, Victor.
From retail to property, telecoms, utilities and property, it was Li’s ports division that provided a consistent bedrock of earnings for his Hutchison empire over the past 30 years. Li held Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), a local container terminal, before in 1992 striking out with the first mainland Chinese terminal deal – in Yantian, just across the border in eastern Shenzhen. Hutchison Ports would go on to build up the largest network of container terminals in the world. Li would sell a 20% stake in his ports division to Singapore’s PSA International to raise cash for his telecoms division, timing it just right as the double digit growth seen at box ports globally became a thing of the past.
Li, dubbed Superman in local circles, was also a notable investor in many local and Asian shipping lines.