Thursday, March 08, 2007

Li and Lee

Why is Hong Kong tycoon Li-Ka-shing pouring so much resources into Singapore?

Today, his foundation and listed companies pumped a record S$100 million into the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. The school is, of course, named after his good friend -- Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who was also Singapore's longest-serving Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990.

They also have great things to say:

“Globalization posts new complexities for governments worldwide. Policymakers everywhere need to develop policies that embrace the importance of diversity and integrate it within a structure of unity. This is certainly an important task and a formidable challenge. By bringing together policymakers from different countries to think about these issues together, I hope the scholarships might sow seeds of perpetual prosperity and peace.”
Li Ka-shing

"Dr Li Ka-shing and I are old friends. By his generous donation of S$100 million to the LKYSPP, I am happy that his name will be on one of the three blocks of buildings on the campus of the school that is named after me."
Lee Kuan Yew

Apart from the generous donation, the Hong Kong tycoon has given S$20 million to another university in Singapore, and is part of the consortium that is spearheading the development of the New Downtown in Singapore.

Of course, Li's port business has forged close ties with PSA International, which is part of Singapore government investment arm Temasek Holdings.

Last year, PSA paid US$4.4 billion for a "20% equity and loan interest in Hutchison Whampoa Limited’s portfolio of ports." The deal, which was PSA's biggest investment, came shortly after it failed in the bidding war for UK's P&O Ports, which was snapped up by Dubai's DP World for an even more staggering US$6.8 billion.

Will we see more partnerships between Singapore and Li's empire?

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