3G Glasses

Until recently, Li Ka-shing's business judgment seemed above reproach, thanks to his decades of virtually flawless maneuverings in everything from container ports to hotel management. The chairman of conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa enjoyed a reputation not unlike America's Warren Buffett—when he made a contrarian call, everyone assumed he was right and the world was wrong. But Li's latest and most controversial move yet—a mobile-telecom venture called Hutchison 3G—has some wondering whether the guy they call Superman has lost his mind.

While almost every telecom company on the planet has postponed or shelved plans to build data-intensive, high-bandwidth mobile networks,...

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