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Solina Chau: the woman behind HK tycoon Li Ka-shing

Solina Chau: the woman behind HK tycoon Li Ka-shing

Staff Reporter

2013-12-18

An interview with Hong Kong property tycoon Sir Li Ka-shing by Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily has inadvertently thrown Solina Chau Hoi-shuen, a partner in Li’s Cheung Kong Group and director of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, into the spotlight.Chau, who some say is Li’s soul mate, not only organized the interview but also monitored it from a corner of his office, said the report on the website of Chinese-language Lanjing Caijing.

Born in 1961, Chau is 33 years Li’s junior and the daughter of a small-time businessman in Hong Kong. She attended the prestigious Diocesan Girls’ School and was elected Junior House Captain, or chief of the students’ association, before she graduated in 1979.

Chau went on to study in Sydney and worked for a while in London in the 1980s. In the late 1980s, she struck up a friendship with Debbie Chang, a cousin of former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, becoming her flatmate and business partner.

Chau made a splash in Hong Kong business circles in 1993 when she won a project on behalf of one of Tung’s firms to build the Oriental Square in downtown Beijing.

Around this time, Chau met Li, who had been invited by Tung to invest in the US$2 billion project that earned Chau a commission of HK$400 million (US$51.6 million).

Later, Chau and Chang moved to a house that was a five-minute drive from Li’s mansion in Hong Kong’s Deep Water Bay, and reports emerged that she was often seen with Li at the Deep Water Bay Golf Club, eating breakfast together. Li’s wife died in 1990.

In 1999, when the internet boom began, Li helped Chau set up Tom, a Chinese-language media company. He also helped her to list Tom on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Chau’s HK$300,000 (US$38,650) investment in Tom mushroomed into HK$12.7 billion (US$1.63 billion), making her the second-richest woman in Hong Kong.

Chau is said to be very considerate and has often been seen squatting in public to tie Li’s shoelaces if they come undone. When Li was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford University, Chau held his umbrella to shield him from the rain.

When Li was asked by journalists whether he would marry again, he had initially said no but his response has since changed to a “Maybe, who knows?”

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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