Li Ka‐shing likes things simple. He wears a basic electronic wristwatch, basic black dress shoes, and basic business suits. He lives by the philosophy that “If you keep a good reputation, work hard, be nice to people, keep your promises, your business will be much easier.” It seems to have worked for him. Business has been good. Li Ka‐shing is Asia’s richest man, with a net worth of over US$30 billion. That placed him in the top 20 on a recent list of the richest people in the world.
Li was not born rich. His family fled to Hong Kong from mainland China during the upheavals of war in 1940. His father died when Li was in his teens, forcing him to quit school and take a job at a plastics trading company. Within a few years, Li had started his own plastics company. One of his early businesses produced plastic flowers. He produced the parts for the flowers and then paid people to assemble the flowers in their homes. This saved him the cost of additional factory space (space being in short supply in Hong Kong).
Over the years, Li also invested in Hong Kong properties. One long‐time business associate recalls that Li was very disciplined when bidding on investments in businesses and properties. He didn’t like debt, and he would never bid above a predetermined number. He knew precisely what it would take for his investments to be profitable.
Today, Li’s business interests span many industries and ...