Li Ka-shing has broken his silence in the face of a series of articles from official media in the mainland attacking him for abandoning his investments in China and questioning his patriotism, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
In a statement published by Li’s flagship company, CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. (00001.HK), Li said the remarks made in the media reports made him “tremble with fear”.
The statement said Li believes that the central government is determined to continue with its reform strategies.
Li is confident that China will optimize its business environment and does not believe that there is a revival of Cultural Revolution thinking, as the voice of individuals does not represent that of the country.
Official media outlets, such as the People’s Daily and the Securities Times, and Liaowang Institution, a Xinhua-backed think tank, have published at least three articles since Sept. 12 attacking Li.
Li’s statement said 70 percent of companies in Hong Kong, including mainland companies, operate using an offshore structure, and CK Hutchison is just one of them.
He has never lowered his shareholding in any of his company restructuring exercises nor has he cashed out his shares, and therefore the allegation that he was abandoning his investments in the mainland are simply untrue.
Li said his company has adopted a cautious approach toward its real estate business across all geographical markets over the past two years.
It has also cut down on buying plots in the mainland given a higher risk of imbalance between demand and supply.
However, the statement said, the group has over 20 million square meters of buildable floor space on hand, and the number of retail outlets it owns in the mainland has increased from 1,300 two years ago to 2,300 today.
Li said he is saddened by all the controversy and quoted sayings by famous poets from the Song and Tang dynasties: “I don’t belong anywhere; home is where the heart is”.
The tycoon founded the Li Ka Shing Foundation in 1980 and injected one-third of his assets, US$9 billion, into the foundation in 2006.
The foundation has so far donated HK$17 billion (US$2.19 billion), 87 percent of the funds being spent within the Greater China region.
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