Unplugging the Cable

Richard Li, the entrepreneurial son of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, had big plans in 2000 when, during the height of dotcom mania, he used the inflated stock of his Internet start-up to buy Hong Kong's dominant phone company, Hong Kong Telecom. Li's grand vision was to use the telco's network as a springboard to launch an interactive entertainment service called Network of the World (NOW), aimed at delivering TV-style content over the Internet to global subscribers. But NOW flopped when the Internet bubble popped, and a chastened Li was left with little more than a debt-ridden, old-school phone company for...

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