HK's richest man Li Ka Shing to retire

Li Ka-shing's companies are part of the fabric of Hong Kong life ranging from landmark properties to internet services and supermarket chains

Today, the assets still held by Li through his flagship CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd include the biggest container port operator in the world, Canadian oil giant Husky, one of Europe's leading telecoms operators as well as a collection of United Kingdom businesses that saw him awarded a knighthood by the Queen in 2000.

At 89, he has chose to hand over power to eldest son Victor, who has been waiting in the wings to run the sprawling conglomerate for the past 10 years.

Li said in a statement: "I have chose to step down as chairman of the group and retire from the position of executive director at the forthcoming annual general meeting of the company".

He will be succeeded by his elder son Victor Li Tzar Kuoi.

The CK chairman announced his retirement while unveiling his company's financial results, which showed revenue up 8 per cent to HK$414bn from HK$382bn the previous year.

The billionaire added he would serve as "senior advisor" of the company.

Li, who turns 90 this summer, will retire from his flagship company after CK Hutchison Holdings' general meeting May 10.

By 19, he had become general manager of the factory, overseeing up to 300 workers and office staff, and at 21, he founded Cheung Kong plastics - the foundation of his empire.

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CK Hutchison Holdings was formed after he combined his property firm Cheung Kong with his conglomerate Hutchison.

The listed firm had a market cap of some HK$ 258.82 billion ($33 billion) as of market closing on Friday, and directly holds more than 27 percent of the units in Fortune REIT, almost 19 percent of Fortune REIT and over 39 percent of mainland-focused Hui Xian REIT. In mainland China, the developer wholly or partially owns seven properties across Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other cities, and has more projects under development, as well as projects in London and Singapore.

Real-estate arm CK Asset Holdings Ltd saw annual profit surge 55 percent, also beating estimates.

"Li's retirement symbolizes the end of an era", Joseph P.H. Fan, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who has researched family-run businesses for two decades, told Bloomberg News.

In the telecoms sector, the company owns the 3 Group in Europe and Hutchison Telecommunications in Hong Kong.

Through subsidiary CK Infrastructure Holdings, CK holds rail and gas operators in the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as Hong Kong's electric utility.

CK Hutchison reported a 6 percent rise in 2017 profit to HK$35.1 billion (US$4.48 billion), versus the average forecast of HK$34.63 billion from 12 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

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