Li Ka-shing

The Hong Kong newspapers call him chiu yan (Superman), but at first glance the only thing Li Ka-shing has in common with Clark Kent is a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. This hardly bothers his legions of admirers. To them, this modest 78-year-old is the most successful Chinese businessman of his generation. Today, Li's fortune totals more than $18 billion. But less than 30 years ago, he was just a face in a crowd of aggressive Hong Kong businessmen trying to push past the entrenched foreign Taipans and their Shanghainese counterparts who ruled the roost in what was then a British colony....

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