January 20, 2014 5:00 pm JST

Cheung Kong's Li: Guessing game continues on succession

KENJI KAWASE, Nikkei staff writer

Li Ka-shing, chairman of Cheung Kong and Hutchison

HONG KONG -- Li Ka-shing is not through cashing in on his success yet. His son Victor may have to wait to take center stage.

     "I am ready to retire, but have no immediate plans to do so," Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing said in a late November interview with the Nanfang Media Group, a mainland Chinese media company based in Guangdong Province. Li is the chairman of property developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) and conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.

     Succession of the throne to his elder son, Victor Li, who is now vice chairman of the two companies, has already been announced. Attention is currently focused on when that day will come.

     The elder Li is often referred to as "Superman" in Hong Kong because of his business acumen. He is a self-made billionaire and created one of the largest business empires in Asia. His personal wealth in 2013 is valued at $31 billion, according to Forbes magazine. Li maintained his title as the world's richest man of Chinese descent for the 15th consecutive year.

     Li will be 86 years old this year. He remains actively involved in the operations of his flagship companies and spends his free time reading books and keep up with the latest trends in IT industries.

     Li told the Nanfang Media Group that he initially planned to retire earlier, but stayed on to handle the company in today's rapidly changing and unpredictable economic environment. The businessman added that he is quite confident his son could pick up the baton any time.

     The elder Li has invested heavily abroad in recent years, mainly in Europe. While keeping a watch on global economic trends, he may look for an opportune time to retreat.

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