Engineer, Billionaire, and
Son of Li Ka-shing known as ' Superman'
Worth $ 12.4 Billion
Richard Li 10th on rich list
PCCW chairman Richard Li
has been ranked 10th on Fortune magazine's global list of richest people under
40. RICHARD LI AND HIS DEALS
1966 - Born in Hong Kong
1979 - Age 13, sent to California, attends Menlo Park School
1983 - Goes to Stanford, obtains degree in computer engineer
1987 - Age 21, moves to Canada, works at Gordon Capital investment bank
1990 - Returns to Hong Kong to work for father's company Hutchison Whampoa
May 1991 - Establishes STAR satellite television network
July 1993 - Sells controlling stake (63.6%) in STAR to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $525m; subsequent deal in 1995 for total News Corp. control takes sale total to $950.5m
1993 - Launches Pacific Century Group (PCG)
Nov 1995 - March 1997 - Develops real estate projects in Toronto, southern China, Beijing and Tokyo
March 1998 - PCG announces joint venture with Intel (with 40% stake) called Pacific Century Convergence Corp. to develop information technology systems
March 1999 - Hong Kong government announces award of Cyber-port project to PCG which pledges to invest around $1bn
May 1999 - Announces reverse takeover for Hong Kong-listed Tricom, which is renamed Pacific Century CyberWorks; pays $315m for the deal
May 1999 - Announces creation of CyberWorks Ventures, a listed high-tech venture capital investment fund
May 1999 - Joint venture created with Credit Suisse First Boston to manage and invest in Asian properties
August 1999 - launches Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited
August - October 1999 - spends some $600m buying stakes in 13 information technology companies - AsiaWeek
Richard Li buys Cable & Wireless HKT for $38 billion (USD)
Li, son of billionaire Li Ka-shing, was ranked 10 with a fortune of HK$12.4 billion.
Fortune's list of rich
people under 40 in the United States is topped by Dell Computer founder and
director Michael Dell, 37, with wealth estimated at HK$128.6 billion. Second
is Pierre Omidyar, 35, founder and chairman of eBay with HK$29.8 billion,
followed by Jeff Skoll, 37, co-founder of eBay, with HK$17 billion.
- The Standard 3 September 2002
Pacific Century Cyberworks - heralded by investors although there were a few skeptics when PCCW was launched.
Overall although he suffered a personal toll during the exuberance of the dotcom era although his wealth and empire prevails.
His STAR-TV business start-up is a case study at Harvard Business School.
There's blood on the nursery floor as the sons and heirs to three of Asia's major media empires scramble and scratch among the building blocks.
The main victim of tot envy and having his toys snitched is Richard Li, 33, the son of Li Ka-shing, whose empire takes its cut of almost every aspect of Hong Kong life.
Three months ago Richard Li looked like the king of the castle when he used an empty corporate shell, Pacific Century CyberWorks, to finesse the largest takeover in Asian history.
He persuaded Britain's Cable and Wireless to hand over 54 per cent of the venerable Hong Kong Telecom for the equivalent of $9.6 billion Cdn in cash and $13.8 billion in shares in CyberWorks, for a total of $23.3 billion.
Young Li, however, has had a hard time explaining what CyberWorks is meant to do and how it will make money.
It's all rather airy stuff about providing interactive cable television which even believers describe as "conceptual."
Cable and Wireless has had time to regret at leisure June's enthusiasm and this week took its first opportunity to unload 4.9 per cent of its 15-per-cent stake in CyberWorks.
This move cost Cable and Wireless plenty, and its obvious passion to get shut of the CyberWorks paper joined with a growing investor wariness of tech stocks to knock 3.19 per cent off the Hang Seng index.
This focus on risk over possibility continued Friday when the Hong Kong market dropped another 3.64 per cent.
The one billion CyberWorks shares Cable and Wireless sold on Wednesday went for 37 per cent less than when the two companies did the deal in June, the equivalent of a $6.2 billion Cdn loss.
No one on the street doubts that when Cable and Wireless can legally unload other tranches of its holdings -- in February and August next year -- it will do so.
The value of CyberWorks shares slumped 15.81 per cent Thursday after the British company's selloff, and another 3.31 per cent on Friday.
Skepticism over the true value of Richard Li's flashy footwork has been gathering for a while.
Enter another toddler.
On Sept. 8 Jeffrey Koo, offspring of the muscular Taiwan Koo family, pulled his GigaMedia out of a deal with CyberWorks.
The young Koo seems to have two problems with the plans to put out CyberWorks' content service, Network of the World, to GigaMedia's four million Taiwan cable customers.
Firstly, Koo and Li couldn't agree on the value of their stakes and secondly, Koo developed serious doubts about Li's worth as a partner.
Even that wasn't CyberWorks' first significant rebuff.
It had already been unable to persuade Softbank, the Japanese Internet giant, to distribute Network of the World (NOW) locally.
Content is CyberWorks' problem and NOW does not so far inspire confidence.
As one Hong Kong commentator put it this week: "The service so far consists of a mish-mash of games and videos presided over by impudent teenagers, as well as hipper-than-thou articles about pop music and sports."
It may be as some sort of subliminal attempt to get in touch with this audience that Richard Li has taken to wearing a designer backpack in the office.
Market analysts say NOW's advertising and online revenues are hardly visible and they expect the operation to lose about $1.6 billion US in its first four years of operation.
It is, therefore, handy that Richard Li has 54 per cent of Hong Kong Telecom with its boring old cables under the sidewalks and clunky handsets plumbed into apartment walls.
Telecom may not be sexy or hip, but at least it makes money.
Enter a third toddler.
James Murdoch, 27, is the younger son of Rupert Murdoch, who needs no introduction.
Young James has been given responsibility for running Hong Kong Star TV for which his father paid -- and many contend overpaid -- Richard Li $825 million US in 1993.
Richard Li started the Asia-wide satellite TV network when he was 24.
The sale to Murdoch got him out from under the shadow of daddy Li Ka-shing and established his own credentials for being able to spin a fine deal.
The Murdochs, father and son, have plugged away with Star TV during the past seven years and are said to have put about $1 billion US into it.
Until a couple of weeks ago the Murdochs have said little about the Lis, though Rupert Murdoch did team up with Singapore Telecom to bid for Hong Kong Telecom.
There is much speculation Li and CyberWorks won the bidding for political reasons.
At the Edinburgh International Television Festival two weeks ago, however, James Murdoch let rip at Richard Li in no uncertain terms.
During a speech to the festival, Murdoch argued that Li has got the content of NOW all wrong by ignoring demands for local content in local languages and providing a diet English-language programs produced in Britain.
"I fail to understand how one can define a free-to-air English-language rehash of circa 1980 MTV as a global, multimedia, broadband, interactive TV service," Murdoch said. - Jonathan Manthorpe Vancouver Sun 2001
But in the end, Richard Li and his Pacific Century Group shall prevail cause Size Does Matter and the influence and economic engine of the Li family world-wide shall endure the ups and downs of global economic trends.
Pacific Century has also invested in the insurance business through its Singapore listed, Pacific Century Regional Developments. >> more on LI's