HONG KONG: Hong Kong`s richest man said Thursday he would donate more generously to charities, but stopped short of following the 40 US billionaires who pledged to give at least half of their fortunes away.
Li Ka-shing, who has amassed his estimated 21.3 billion US dollar fortune by investing in ports, properties, telecoms and utility projects, was asked if he would consider following the cause initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.
Microsoft mogul Gates and investment guru Buffett said Wednesday that 40 US billionaires had agreed to take part in The Giving Pledge, their scheme to convince America`s richest to give at least 50 percent their money to charity.
"First, my health is very good. I am very satisfied with that," the 82-year-old told a press conference after announcing the first-half results of his conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa and property firm Cheung Kong Holdings.
Li said his charity group, Li Ka Shing Foundation, had donated more than 10 billion Hong Kong dollars (1.28 billion US) to charitable causes over the past three decades, with most of the money spent in China.
"In the next 10 years, I believe my foundation will donate more than the total amount it donated in the last 30 years," he said, adding that he had injected a third of his capital and assets into the foundation.
Li was named Hong Kong`s richest person by Forbes` Magazine in February, with a net worth of 21.3 billion dollars. His wealth gained 5 billion dollars in the 2009, according to the magazine.
As of Wednesday, those who had joined the Giving Pledge included CNN founder Ted Turner, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Hollywood director George Lucas.
Hutchison said Thursday its net profit for the first half of this year rose 12 percent to 6.45 billion Hong Kong dollars, from the same period in 2009.
The result was higher than the average 4.51 billion Hong Kong dollars forecast by six analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Losses from its third-generation mobile-phone operations before interest and tax amounted to 998 million Hong Kong dollars, sharply lower than 5.45 billion a year earlier.
Li said he was confident that his 3G business, which has dragged down the conglomerate`s earnings since 2003, would make a positive contribution to its full-year 2010 results on an earnings before interest and tax basis.
"I expect 3G operations in most markets to report profit in 2011. Some of the overseas markets are already generating profits," he said.
Li said he would continue to expand his various lines of businesses overseas, including building ports and container terminals.
BDST: 1809 HRS, August 05, 2010