Date
21 October 2017
Li Ka-shing is keen on startups involved in artificial intelligence, big data and high-tech food. Photo: Bloomberg
Li Ka-shing is keen on startups involved in artificial intelligence, big data and high-tech food. Photo: Bloomberg

Li Ka-shing eyes 3D-printed cars, AI development

Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, who made early bets on the likes of Siri and Facebook Inc., is looking into startups in artificial intelligence and 3D printing to find the next company that could disrupt the technology market.

He has been using his charity to make invests in carmaking through 3-D printing, Li Ka Shing Foundation director Frank Sixt told Bloomberg.

Li is also keen on startups involved in artificial intelligence, big data and high-tech food such as the meatless Impossible Burger, he said.

The 88-year-old Li runs telecommunications-to-infrastructure giant CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. but his interests provide a rare glimpse into business acumen.

His other tech investments include Spotify Ltd., Airbnb Inc. and Google’s DeepMind.

“Trying to understand what investments have the potential to be very disruptive, but also in a very good way, to sort of transform the way we all live our lives in the future is a big theme in choosing investments,” said Sixt, 64, who aside from his role at the foundation has a bigger day job in being finance director at CK Hutchison.

Artificial intelligence, in particular, has been on Li’s mind.

In a wide-ranging interview earlier this year with Bloomberg Television’s Angie Lau, the tycoon mentioned the topic at least four times.

The surge in computing power, the amount of memory available and falling costs have led to a “rebirth in every type of artificial intelligence endeavor”, Sixt said.

For example, it’s possible that within a decade, people will no longer need to call customer-service representatives because they’ll be able to sort everything out via their devices or through a virtual agent powered by AI, he said.

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