Henderson Land Development and Sun Hung Ka co-founder Lee Shau Kee
Growing up in rural southeast China, Lee Shau Kee was lucky to be able to eat meat or fish twice a month. Today his Sun Hung Kai (which he co-founded with Kwok Tak-Sent in 1963) is the second-most-valuable real estate company in the world, and Lee’s net worth exceeds $25B, affording him all the meat and fish he can dream of.
Lee’s interests in Sun Hung Ka are merely part of his empire. In 1976 he founded Henderson Land Development, now the third-largest developer in Hong Kong, with a market cap of $22.9B, of which Lee controls 70.17%.
Lee is most closely associated with Hong Kong’s International Office Centre, the eighth-tallest building in the world. In a JV with Sun Hung Kai and MTR Corp., Henderson developed the 1,362-foot-tall International Finance Centre project on a landmark waterfront property overlooking Kowloon Bay. When it was completed in 2003, it was the tallest building in Hong Kong. Henderson has called the building home ever since. The development was immortalized on film when Batman leapt from one skyscraper to the next in "The Dark Knight."
Lee’s success in the stock market has earned him the nickname "Hong Kong’s Buffett" in reference to his Warren Buffett-esque ability to pick mainland stock investments that reap significant returns. But Lee is known for his philanthropy as much as his returns. He has donated more than $400M to education. In 2015 he donated a heavily sought-after site to develop Hong Kong’s largest youth hostel, which will lease units exclusively to people between 18 and 30 at half the market rate.
Ever the family man, Lee handed out cash gifts to Henderson's more than 6,000 employees to celebrate the birth of his grandchildren, totaling HK$60M over a nine-year period. — Kyle Hagerty
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