Tycoon Li Ka-shing has been cutting his group’s mainland property portfolio in recent years, moves that appear prescient in light of China’s current economic and market woes, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Cementing his status among investors as an oracle, Li has reduced his group’s reliance on China since 2011 and focused more on Europe, the report noted.
The Hong Kong billionaire hasn’t made any significant land acquisitions in China in the past three years and has sold off malls and housing developments.
He has also disposed parts of his ports and retail holdings in Hong Kong, which is a conduit for China’s international trade and finance, the Journal noted.
Instead, the billionaire pivoted his group flagships, Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong Holdings, toward Europe.
Li has spent more than US$20 billion in the past 18 months on deals in Europe, which included the purchase of the UK’s second-biggest mobile-phone operator, a Dutch drugstore chain and a British train-car maker.
Those deals were valued at more than his combined European acquisitions in the previous decade, according to the report.
Li’s moves were spurred in part by his belief that he can make more money in Europe than in China, the report cited people close to Li’s business as saying.
Earlier this year, Li folded his two flagship firms together into CK Hutchison Holdings and spun off their property businesses into a separate company, Cheung Kong Property Holdings.
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