Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing says retirement won't stop him working

HONG KONG, June 20 Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd said on Tuesday its chairman Li Ka-shing was in "very good health" and would make an announcement when he decides to step down.

Li, 88, told associates of his plans without giving a specific date, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Mr Li has from time to time talked about his retirement and his confidence in (deputy chairman) Victor (Li Tzar-kuoi) to lead the company", a company spokesman said in an email.

Li was jovial and appeared healthy when he met reporters in March after his companies released annual results, though he raised the prospect of retirement and said he could become a senior advisor of the group.

Famous for his investing prowess, Li is the richest man in Hong Kong with an estimated fortune of $33 billion, and along with Alibaba's Jack Ma and Dalian Wanda's Wang Jianlin, is ranked as one of the three wealthiest people in Asia.

Over the past several years, Li has been selling off much of his property assets in Hong Kong and mainland China and shifting more of his attention to opportunities overseas.

"On the whole it would be a bit of a shock", said Richard Harris, Hong Kong-based chief executive officer of Port Shelter Investment Management.

A refugee to Hong Kong who swept factory floors as a teenager in the 1940s, Li rose to head a global business empire that built skyscrapers, provided mobile-phone services and controlled ports across the globe.

Another person said the elder Mr. Li, known for trademark horn-rimmed glasses and an iron grip on his companies, could step down by year-end. In an interview a year ago, he called for higher corporate taxes to help tackle wealth inequality.

Mr Li was born July 29, 1928, in Chaozhou, a city in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, which adjoins Hong Kong. In 1940, his family fled to Hong Kong to escape Japanese invaders, though Hong Kong was occupied the following year.

  • Zachary Reyes