Hong Kong property tycoon Li Ka-Shing has broken the silence for the first time since he was accused of being “unpatriotic” for pulling his business out of the Chinese mainland amid the economic slowdown.
Li responded that his conglomerate has confidence in China’s leadership in newsletter posted online Tuesday by CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, a major component of Mr. Li’s business empire.
Summarizing the 87-year-old businessman’s response, the release denied that Li is taking his business away from China.
“The reorganization of our Group using Cayman Islands companies does not change the fact that the Group is still registered and listed in Hong Kong,” the press release said.
Some firms owned by Li have been registered in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, which has led to allegations that the tycoon is leaving China behind when it is in need of support.
In the letter the Group also added that its business activities on the Chinese mainland have actually been more active over the past two years.
Addressing its thoughts on China’s central government, the release stated, “We are confident that the leadership in China is and will commit to improving governance and continue on a path of economic reform.”
A Chinese think tank affiliated to the Xinhua News Agency published a paper on its website earlier in September, under the title “Don’t Let Li Go,” alleging that the Hong Kong business giant is moving his wealth away by selling the property he owned in China.
The paper, which has since been deleted, suggested that since Li owes his success in China to the ties he has with authorities, he must repay the favor by giving his wealth back in contribution to the Chinese people.
The paper has caused heated discussion about “commercial morality” among China’s social network users before it was deleted.