The richest man in Hong Kong just pledged $127 million to help local small businesses struggling because of ongoing mass protests
- Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Hong Kong, has pledged to donate HK$1 billion ($127 million) to help local businesses suffering after months of mass protests caused an economic meltdown, his charitable foundation announced October 4.
- Now in their seventeenth week, the protests escalated October 1 after a police officer shot a protester.
- The tumult also erased billions off of the fortunes of the city's wealthiest citizens, Li included, Business Insider previously reported.
- In August, Li took out newspaper ads asking the protesters to "stop anger and violence in the name of love."
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Hong Kong's richest man is stepping to help businesses struggling to recover from months of political and economic unrest.
On October 4, Li Ka-Shing, the billionaire often called "superman," said that he plans to contribute HK$1 billion ($127 million) to a $2 billion recovery fund set up by the Hong Kong government through his charitable foundation. The foundation said in a statement that local authorities would help it decide how to distribute the funds.Li said that the gift was intended to "ease the pressure" on the city's small businesses and that it "will take the lead" in encouraging others to contribute to recovery efforts, according to a statement translated by Forbes.
The Li Ka-Shing Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on where the funds will be sent and how they will be spent.
Li previously asked Hong Kong protesters to "stop anger and violence in the name of love"
In August, Li took out newspaper ads asking the protesters to "stop anger and violence in the name of love." The protests began in July over an extradition bill with mainland China but have since expanded their focus to police actions and their democratic system. Li spoke out in favor of the protesters in September after things became violent, Bloomberg reported. The unrest continued to escalate, however, as protesters threw acid on authorities and a police officer shot a protester on October 1.
According to an August report by The Financial Times' Hudson Lockett, a stock market rout thought to have been caused by the protests wiped an estimated $3 billion off Li's net worth in July and August. The collective net worths of Hong Kong's 10 richest people shrank by approximately $15 billion during that same period, according to Lockett. Billionaires Merlin Swire, Peter Woo, and the Kwok family also put out statements condemning the protests though their companies, Business Insider previously reported.
Li, 91, has a net worth of $27.1 billion, according to Forbes. Li, who was born in China but moved to Hong Kong in 1940, began his career as a factory worker. He built his fortune as a real-estate developer and major investor in port operator and cell phone carrier CK Hutchison Holdings. Li retired from the conglomerate in May 2018, but still serves as a senior advisor.Li is also a noted philanthropist: In June, he pledged to cover 5 years of tuition for an entire college class, a move that will cost him $14.4 million each year.