Lee Shau-kee

Founder, Henderson Land


The man behind the Henderson empire is also a staunch supporter of education

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The founder of property development giant Henderson Land, Lee Shau-kee has long been Hong Kong’s second-richest person.

From a humble background in Shunde, Guangdong, Lee came to Hong Kong aged about 20 with less than HK$1,000, using it to gradually build a real estate behemoth that also has operations in construction, hospitality, retail and infrastructure. He was previously chairman of The Hong Kong and China Gas Company, vice-chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties and a non-executive director of Hong Kong Ferry Holdings.

Known for his personal generosity—every grandchild he has costs him a fortune in lai see contributions to his friends and employees—he is a famous philanthropist, particularly when it comes to education. In 2007 he gave the University of Hong Kong HK$500 million and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology HK$400 million, and contributed over HK$100 million to the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2018. Since 2006, Lee has donated more than RMB4.4 billion towards the Warmth Project, a programme he initiated in mainland China which has provided training for more than 1.2 million farmers and 11,000 village doctors. The organisation has further established approximately 2,000 village clinics and an orphanage.

A recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 2007, Lee Shau-kee is the father of Peter and Martin, who have taken over the family business following Lee’s retirement as chairman and CEO in 2019—although he remains an executive director.


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Did You Know?

When he decided to relocate from his relatively modest Mid-Levels home in 2010, he certainly did so in style: the plot of land alone for 35 Barker Road cost him HK$1.82 billion, or HK$68,229 per square foot, making it the most expensive residential site per square foot in the world at the time.

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