Facebook to make Asia richest man $700mln richer tomorrow

Asia’s richest man, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing, is the largest Asian shareholder in Facebook, and it rewarded him handsomely. In 2007, at a time when a lot of people were beginning to doubt Facebooks ability to be a profitable company, Li Ka-shing made an investment of $60 million in the hot social-networking company. He later upped his investment again in 2008, now holding a total 0.8% stake in Facebook at an original investment amounted to $120 million.

Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka Shing

When Facebooks IPO hits the market tomorrow, says Steve Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine, Li’s investment would be boosted to $800 million, which is nearly 7 times his initial investment in the social networking site 4 years ago. Forbes told CNBC that Li, who’s been in Forbes’ billionaires list every year since it started 25 years ago, isn’t the type of businessman who’s stuck to spreadsheets.

“He put in (Facebook) what looked like a grossly high valuation four years ago,” says Forbes. “When he sees something and thinks it’s going to work, he’s going to make a bet on it.” In its latest 2012 billionaire list, Forbes magazine put Li Ka-Shing as Asia 's richest and the world’s 9th richest, the only Asian among the world’s top 10 with a net worth of $25.5 billion. Li is also the richest man in the world of ethnic Chinese descent.

In 1940, Li’s family fled to Hong Kong after the turmoil in China, and to provide for his poor family upon the death of his father, he dropped out from school at age of 15 to sell watches on street. From there, he became a wholesale salesman at the age of 17, and moved on to become a general manager of a plastic company at the young age of 19, working 16 hours a day. In 1949, after familiarizing himself with the operation of plastic plant, he borrowed money from family, friends and contacts he cultivated as a salesman to found the Cheung Kong Industries, a small factory that manufacture plastic flowers.

Cheung Kong Center, the company is now the second largest Hong Kong real estate developer

Recalling his experience back then, Li said; “The first year, I didnt have much capital so I did everything myself. I had to keep my overhead low by learning everything about running a business, from accounting to fixing the gears of my equipment. I really had to start from scratch.”

Business boomed throughout the 1950s, when Cheung Kong began making artificial flowers and exporting them to the United States. One day, a representative from a big foreign company decided to visit Li’s factory, Li had his entire factory retooled and hiring the best technicians he could find to upgrade the equipments, prepared for weeks in anticipation of the visit. Impressed with the quality of Li’s plant, the buyer placed a large order. A few years later, Li grew to be the largest supplier of plastic flowers in Asia and made a fortune selling them.

In 1958, after his landlord refused to renew the rental lease for his company, Li was forced to purchase and develop a site by himself. In 1967, Hong Kong suffered a massive riots and many people fled the territory. As a result, property prices plummeted. Li, believing the political crisis would be temporary, and property prices would eventually rise, bought parcels of land at low prices. Li said he remembered a phrase by John D. Rockefeller, the world’s richest man in the 1900s; “The best time to buy is when blood is flowing in the streets.”

Li Ka Shing increasingly dominating the UK’s utility markets

By 1971, Li officially diverse into real estate development, harboring the dream of one day surpassing the Hongkong Land as a leading developer. Today, Cheung Kong indeed has surpassed Hong Kong Land, but another company grew even faster. Cheung Kong is currently the second largest real estate developer in Hong Kong, second only to Sun Hung Kai.

In 1977, UK-based Hutchison Whampoa ran into trouble and had to be rescued by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). Li saw Hutchison had a portfolio of valuable real estate interests in docks and retail ventures, and believed it was undervalued. In 1979, he proceed to acquire Hutchison from HSBC. Under Li’s leadership, Hutchison Whampoa becomes the world’s biggest port operator today, controlling 13% of all container port capacity in the world.

The acquisition of Hutchison also gave Li the Watson’s Pharmacy and Drugstore, which had 75 outlets. Today it has grown into a retail network of over 7,700 stores spanning health & beauty chains, perfumeries & cosmetics, grocery, consumer electronics, wine, and duty-free, now the world’s largest health and beauty retailer.

Among Li’s holdings; the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), the world’s largest port operator, and the Watson’s, the world’s biggest health and beauty retailer

Li Ka Shing later acquired Hong Kong Electric Holdings Limited in 1985 (in Hong Kong, considered the world’s most capitalistic society, utilities are privately-held instead of state-owned) Today, Hong Kong Electric operates a duopoly with CLP Group (a company owned by fellow billionaire Michael Kadoorie, the only non-Chinese in Hong Kong’s top 10 wealthiest) in the territory’s electricity market.

While Li’s business interests span everything from ports to telcos, to power and supermarkets across the world, what makes him really remarkable, according to Forbes, is his recent investments in technology, that is for a 83 year old man, who still possess an accurate insight into the high-tech world. In an interview, Li jokingly said; A person investing in technology will feel younger.

Before the investment in Facebook, Li bought a 5% share in internet phone service provider Skype when it was losing money in 2005, which one year later was later acquired by eBay. Today, Li’s companies make up 15% of the market cap of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, penetrating deeply into the everyday facet of Hong Kong’s daily life.



http://www.siliconrepublic.com/business … ease-size/

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2012/05/04/d … ion-value/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/46663704/HK_Tyco … cebook_IPO

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subc … inCatID=11

http://forbesindia.com/article/worlds-b … ch/32576/1

Li Ka-Shing, is the only Asian to invest in Facebook

Inaccurate. There’s another tycoon, Tan sri Vincent Tan also invested in Facebook before FB was listed.

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.as … c=business

Well, how unfair, he is completely left out from major medias. The site dedicated to listing Facebook shareholders, http://whoownsfacebook.com/, doesn’t even list him or his company.

I will change instead to ‘the largest Asian shareholder in Facebook’.

how were they able to invest before the company was listed? They will have to be an official partner isn’t it?

Angel investors or venture capitalists, they invest in start-up companies with potential. This is only limited to wealthy people of course, who negotiate with young company and inject money into it.

You can also go to sharespost.com, as you can see, Facebook was traded there. Twitter is currently listed there too.

OMG, Li Ka Shing is a KING in business!!! Super pro!!!