Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing hands CK Hutchison reins to son

Finance


The conglomerate has more than 300,000 employees in some 50 countries around the world and is a dominant force in Hong Kong, where family-run businesses have led the city’s economy for decades.

The elder Li has controlled one of the world’s largest operators of container terminals, Hutchison Port, and Asia’s biggest health and beauty retailer, Watsons.

Ronald Wan of Partners Financial Holdings said investors want to know where the younger Li will go in terms of investment policy.

“I think (the) market perception on Mr. Li Ka-shing and Mr. Victor Li is basically different,” Wan told CNBC’s Dan Murphy, adding that investors see the son as more conservative than his father.

“So basically, investors will be cautious to know how he is going to position the future investment policy,” he said, adding there is particular interest on whether it will move more toward globalization and away from mainland China.

The retiring Li, who rose from poverty in southern China’s Guangdong province, started his rise by establishing a plastics company in 1950, which eventually listed on Hong Kong’s stock exchange in 1972.

His businesses were consolidated in 2015 into CK Hutchison for non-property ventures and CK Asset Holdings for property.

Analysts were also paying attention to what kind of management personnel the younger Li will favor, with Fan saying the next five years will be important as he “gradually introduces a younger generation of professional managers.”

Fan called the transition “critically important,” stressing that the continued presence of an older generation of managers was also crucial.

“That will help ensure the smooth transition from the previous to the next generation of professional management that is very, very important to the success of Victor Li,” he said.



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