Exports: Trading Up

To stay relevant, Hong Kong's biggest sourcing company reshapes itself

Q. Sakamakio / Redux for Time

Li & Fung company staff at work in the trading firm's merchandising area. Nov 30 2006, Hong Kong.

In any family firm, there is that moment when parent and boss intersect. For Hong Kong billionaire William Fung, that moment has arrived, and with it comes his own special predicament. In 1972, as a brash 23-year-old fresh out of Harvard Business School, he reluctantly joined Li & Fung, a trading company co-founded by his grandfather. William's first move was "to get rid of the family deadwood," he says, by taking the company public. His son Terence, 25, recently joined the business, and William, a drafter of Hong Kong's mini-constitution who is famous for having a judicious opinion about everything, isn't...

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