Xinhua recently reported that Li Ka-Shing, the wealthiest person in Hong Kong, announced on the 9th that his two flagship companies (Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa) are being restructured to form two new companies to cover real-estate and non-real-estate businesses. The plan involves re-organizing Li Ka-Shing’s assets, which are valued at approximately HK$1 trillion (around US$129 billion). According to the numbers that Forbes released in March 2014, Li ranked number 20 in the list of the world’s wealthiest people. The most remarkable move in this re-organization is that the new companies will be registered in the Cayman Islands instead of Hong Kong, where the previous companies were registered. Analysts expressed their concerns on this registration choice since Mr. Li previously made a promise that his companies would always be registered in Hong Kong. Li argued in his announcement that the new companies will still be traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange just as they have been. In recent years, Li Ka-Shing has been moving out of the Chinese Mainland market and has been making a large number of investments in Europe and Canada. The latest development triggered a widespread discussion as to whether this means that assets valued in RMB (the Chinese currency) now face increasingly higher risks.
Source: Xinhua, January 10, 2015