Richard Li 101: The Hong Kong Business Mogul
Zatrun Published at July 16, 2023

Born in 1966 in Hong Kong, Richard Li Tzar-kai is the son of renowned businessman Li Ka-shing. His early years were marked by his time at St. Paul’s Co-educational College in Hong Kong. However, at the age of thirteen, he left Hong Kong to continue his education at Menlo School in Atherton, California.

During his high school years, he worked at McDonald’s and even served as a caddy at a local golf course. Richard initially pursued computer engineering at Stanford University, but after three years, he withdrew for personal reasons. This early phase of his life laid the foundation for his future endeavors.

The Journey Begins: Founding PCG

Richard Li embarked on his career in finance by managing funds at an investment bank in Toronto, Canada, for the first three years, acquiring Canadian citizenship in the process. In 1990, he ventured into the fund-management department at Hutchison Whampoa in Hong Kong. His professional journey took a significant turn when he founded STAR TV in 1990. STAR TV, a pan-Asian satellite-television network, was instrumental in introducing Western popular entertainment to over 50 countries by 2005.

The service became highly profitable, and Li successfully sold the network to Rupert Murdoch for a total of USD$950.5 million in 1993 and 1995. With the funds from this sale, he founded Pacific Century Group (PCG) in 1993, marking the beginning of his remarkable journey in the business world.

PCCW and HKT Trust

One of Li’s significant achievements was the establishment of Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) in 1996. Serving as the company’s chairman from 1999 onwards, he oversaw the transformation of PCCW Ltd. in 2002. His Canadian citizenship was pivotal in facilitating business deals, allowing him to bid on companies like Air Canada and Bell Canada Enterprises.

In 2000, PCCW acquired Cable & Wireless HKT for US$38 billion, making it the largest fixed-lined network and wireless operator in Hong Kong. Li’s involvement extended to the Bank of East Asia as a board member in 2001. Furthermore, in 2004, he created Pacific Century Premium Developments (PCPD) as a spinoff from PCCW.

In 2011, he was instrumental in the spinoff and initial public offering of PCCW’s telecommunications assets on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, leading to the creation of Hong Kong’s first publicly traded business trust, HKT Trust. As of November 2011, Li served as the chairman of HKT Trust and its executive committee. His leadership and strategic moves significantly contributed to the growth of these companies.

PineBridge and FWD Group

Li’s involvement expanded to the insurance business when PCG acquired AIG Investments in 2009, renaming the asset management company PineBridge Investments. In 2013, PCG further expanded its presence by acquiring the insurance business of ING Groep N.V., which included operations in Hong Kong, Macau, and Thailand, and renaming it FWD Group.

With strategic backing and acquisitions, FWD Group continued to grow. In 2015, PCCW Media, under Li’s leadership, acquired the mobile video provider Vuclip and launched the streaming service Viu. By 2017, Viu, Vuclip, and the music streaming service MOOV were bundled into PCCW OTT. Under Li’s direction, the insurance group bolttech was launched in early 2020. Richard Li’s dynamic approach played a pivotal role in the expansion of these entities in the insurance and media sectors.

Recent Developments and Philanthropy

Richard Li has invested significantly in the Hanazono resort in Niseko, Hokkaido. Although development was delayed due to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, he continued to invest in the project. In 2018, Li mentioned that his insurance businesses took up a substantial part of his time, with a focus on expanding FWD in Southeast Asian markets.

His initiatives extended to the establishment of one of the first licensed virtual banks in Hong Kong, announced by HKT in 2019. In 2020, HKT launched 5G wireless services under his leadership. His philanthropic endeavors include contributions to the Canadian National Arts Centre Foundation and various relief efforts and charity programs through PCCW. Richard Li’s dedication and success in business have been complemented by his commitment to philanthropy and community initiatives.

Richard Li Recognition and Personal Life

Richard Li’s achievements have not gone unnoticed. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia in 2011. Additionally, he was honored with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his outstanding contributions to business and charity in Canada.

In his personal life, Li’s dedication extends to his family. He has a son and twin sons, born to his former partner, Isabella Leong. Li’s interests also include aviation, as he holds pilot licenses in the United States and Canada, and he is a licensed divemaster. In 2016, Li bought his own top-level domain (.richardli) for $250,000.

Richard Li, the Hong Kong business magnate and philanthropist, has carved a path of success through his strategic ventures and unwavering dedication to various industries. His journey is a testament to his vision and leadership. For more in-depth insights into the life and career of Richard Li, visit, a source of profound analysis and insight, shedding light on his remarkable path to success.<

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