Vision is perhaps our greatest strength…it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown.

Sir Li Ka-shing
Vision is perhaps our greatest strength…it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown.
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This week’s Leadership Quote features Sir Li Ka-shing, a figure who embodies resilience, innovation, and philanthropy. Known as one of the most influential business magnates in Hong Kong, Li Ka-shing’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming a global business leader offers profound lessons in leadership and perseverance. His words resonate especially today with the innovative spirit shown by our Laidlaw Scholar alumni from @The University of Hong Kong, Henry Wong and Muhammad Saad Shahid Anwel, through their pioneering startup, Kodifly.

Sir Li Ka-shing: "Vision is perhaps our greatest strength…it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown."
Photo credit: EdTech Stanford University School of Medicine, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From Humble Beginnings to Business Magnate

Born on July 29, 1928, in Chaozhou, Guangdong, China, Li Ka-shing faced significant hardships early in life. Fleeing from the Japanese invasion of China, his family moved to Hong Kong where they lived in poverty. Despite these challenges, Li dropped out of school at 15 to work in a plastics factory to support his family. His perseverance paid off when he founded  Cheung Kong Industries in 1950, initially producing plastics and later expanding into real estate.

A Legacy of Innovation and Philanthropy

Li Ka-shing’s business acumen led to the transformation of Cheung Kong Industries into one of the largest multinational conglomerates, with interests spanning from real estate to ports, utilities, retail, and telecommunications. His leadership of companies like CK Hutchison Holdings and Cheung Kong Property Holdings has left an indelible mark on various industries worldwide.

Beyond his business successes, Li is renowned for his philanthropic efforts. He established the Li Ka Shing Foundation in 1980, focusing on education, medical services, and cultural programs. The foundation has donated billions to various causes, significantly impacting the fields of education and healthcare globally.

Reflecting on Leadership

Li Ka-shing’s quote speaks to the importance of vision in leadership. It emphasises that true leadership involves foresight and the ability to inspire continuous thought and innovation. His life story encourages us to remain resilient, think beyond immediate challenges, and work towards creating a lasting impact.

Li Ka-shing’s journey is a testament to the Laidlaw values of #Brave, #Good, and #Determined. His relentless pursuit of success, commitment to societal good, and visionary outlook embody what it means to be a transformative leader. His achievements, and the achievements of our scholars, remind us that with perseverance and vision, we can overcome any obstacle and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

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