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Vision is perhaps our greatest strength...it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the c...
Vision is perhaps our greatest strength...it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown.
Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing is a Knight of the British Empire, the world’s largest operator of shipping container terminals, the largest retailer of health and beauty products and the richest person in all of Asia. He is also a leading philanthropist, reportedly having donated around $1.5 billion US to charity.
Such generosity, while by no means common, is not unheard of from the rich and powerful, and especially those who come from humble beginnings like Li Ka-shing. Born in the city of Chaozhou in Guangdong province, China, in 1928, Li left school before the age of 15 when his father, a school teacher, passed away. Li began working 16 hours per day at a plastics company. Within a few years he had his own plastics firm, in time turning it into Asia’s largest supplier of plastic flowers. He later moved into Hong Kong real estate investment, acquiring, among other assets, the Hongkong Electric Company. Li Ka-shing would eventually own interests in sectors as diverse as telecommunications, tourism, supermarkets, airports, shipping, banking and construction.
The aphorism “wealth is wasted on the rich” may not be very accurate when it comes to Li Ka-shing. Though still hard at work at the age of 85 and reportedly worth $34.2 billion US, Li claims to sleep a full eight hours a night and play golf for 90 minutes every morning. Yet he is also surprisingly low-key in his ordinary blue suits and inexpensive wristwatches. Furthermore, all Li’s investments in the booming, albeit risky, tech sector — Facebook, Spotify, Siri and BitPay — have only benefitted his own charitable foundation, which focuses on education and health care initiatives. Li also funded the lion’s share of the Stanford University School of Medicine headquarters, named the Li Ka-shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.
Always with an eye towards the future, a recent investment of Li Ka-shing’s is California start-up health food company Hampton Creek, which aims to become the “Google of food.” Li’s investment firm has funded over half of a $30 million US backing of Hampton Creek’s egg-replacing venture, which instead of chicken eggs uses less expensive, more ethical and healthier ingredients. Though still virtually “in embryo,” the firm’s eggless mayonnaise, “Just Mayo,” is already outselling Hellmann’s by one third in the United States.