BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing is not pulling out of China, but wants Hong Kong to invest in education and training, according to a report by a Chinese mainland news outlet.
"The talk of our disinvestment [in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland] is a big joke," the billionaire told Caixin.com.
The 85-year-old keeps a firm grip on the helm of his family business, Cheung Kong Group, which includes Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa Limited. He said he will never move his incorporation address away from Hong Kong despite the conglomerate's recent overseas expansion.
Last year, Li sold some properties on the Chinese mainland and spun off a couple of business units in Hong Kong. Tongues were soon wagging that Cheung Kong was draining its capital away from China with a phase of sustainable but slower growth on the horizon.
Li told Caixin.com that the moves were purely "sell-high-buy-low" maneuvers, and he will never sell his major estates in downtown Hong Kong.
The octogenarian, nicknamed "Superman" by Hong Kong locals for his business acumen, appears to have always made the right decisions when opportunities emerge. He tapped into Hong Kong's property market in 1970s, the bandwagon of globalization in the 1980s, and the China boom in the past two decades.
When asked about the next big opportunity, he suggested innovation that can be transformed into new technology.
Li showed Caixin's reporters how to fold a printed circuit board into an energy-efficient light bulb, the project being one of his latest investments.
Hong Kong needs to invest in education and training, he believes, because it is necessary to be on the cutting edge of high technology and techniques, and to restore the functionality of the free market; both ways of addressing social problems such as a widening gap between rich and poor, he added.
Talking about the Shanghai pilot free trade zone , Li said it was a huge benefit for businesses and its ripple effect would benefit Hong Kong.
Cooperation with Guangdong province is also rife with opportunities for Hong Kong. "Problems will be solved via sincere cooperation between the two parties."
He shared views on universal suffrage, due in 2017, that will allow Hong Kongers to vote for their next leader. "The concept of 'one country, two systems' is unprecedented. I have every faith that the Hong Kong people are wise enough to make decisions," said the mogul.