Li Ka-shing, the legendary Hong Kong billionaire who built a fortune from a plastic flower factory in the wreckage following WWII, is predicting China will be able to ease its way into a soft landing.
Li, who called China’s 2008 stock market decline, says he is confident the mandarins in Beijing will avoid a hard landing as they try to slow the world’s second-largest economy, and cool burgeoning inflation.
“Every task that’s carried out in China these days has gone through careful consideration,” Li, 83, told reporters in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported.
Li said he “is not concerned” about moves by Premier Wen Jiabao’s policies to tighten credit, and reign in consumer and real estate prices. Inflation in June was measured at 6.4%, far above the government’s target of 4%.
Li, dubbed “Superman” for his investment track record, built his fortune by plunging into Hong Kong real estate in the 1950s, soon after founding his plastics company. He increased his bets on the city in the wake of the riots following Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
In March, Li was named the 11th wealthiest person in world by Forbes, with a projected fortune of $26 billion. Yesterday, his flagship company Cheung Kong (CHEUY) reported first-half earnings doubled to $HK33.3 billion, including contributions from affiliate Hutchinson Whampoa and a one-time asset sale.
Hutchinson shares (HUWHY), on the other hand, missed their targets and are plunging 7% in Hong Kong after a 5% loss in New York.