Victor Li and Richard Li, the sons of Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing, work together for first time on heritage project

By Enoch Yiuenoch.yiu@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3009371/victor-li-and-richard-li-sons-hong-kongs-richest-man-li-ka-shing?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | May 14, 2019 10:48 AM SGT
A newly refurbished heritage project in the tourist hotspot of Tsim Sha Tsui is the result of an unusual collaboration.
The revamp of 1881 Heritage, a historical building that housed the former Marine Police Headquarters, involved the two sons of Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing and their companies working together on a project for the first time.
Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, 54, and his younger brother Richard Li Tzar-kai, 52, on Wednesday co-hosted a ceremony with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor for the opening of House 1881, which comprises a boutique hotel and five restaurants, located within the main building at 1881 Heritage.
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Victor Li, who took over as chairman of CK Asset Holdings from his father last year after his retirement, has always worked at the property developer.
Richard Li worked at Hutchison Whampoa (the predecessor to CK Hutchison) but left the group in the 1990s and set up his own business. His telecommunication and financial conglomerate, Pacific Century Group, includes the life insurance arm FWD Group, which was involved in the project.
Li Ka-shing, 90, had a net worth of US$31.9 billion in February, according to Forbes. Richard Li ranked as Hong Kong's 21st richest man in the same list with a net worth of US$4.5 billion.
Victor Li is not on the list but his companies CK Asset and CK Hutchison employ more than 320,000 people and operate in more than 50 countries.
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In January, FWD acquired a lease for 1881 Heritage from CK Asset, whose terms were not disclosed.
The lease allows FWD to run the hotel and five restaurants in the main building of 1881 Heritage while CK Asset will continue to operate other commercial businesses in the premises.
FWD has spent the past few months renovating the boutique hotel and restaurants and has renamed it House 1881 from Hullett House. The revamped hotel only has 10 rooms done up in British style unlike the Asian theme previously.
In 2003, CK Asset won a tender and spent six years to turn the building into a high-end shopping centre and hotel complex.
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The government still owns the property built in 1884. Although CK Asset manages the complex it can sublease parts of the premises to other companies while keeping certain areas open for public use.
Lam said on Wednesday that the government planned to put many such old historical sites to new use, adding that such projects will bring more tourists to city and boost the economy.
"The former Marine Police Headquarters is one of our city's most timeless and famous landmarks. FWD understands the rare privilege we have in preserving this historic site for the community and future generations," said Ronald Arculli, chairman of FWD Group, at the opening ceremony.
"As one of only 120 declared monuments of Hong Kong, I assure you FWD does not take this responsibility lightly. Our mission is to showcase House 1881's historic value, enduring legacy and its unique charm to both locals and overseas visitors alike."
Ken Lau, managing director of Greater China and Hong Kong chief executive of FWD, said the company did not enjoy any discount or favourable treatment from CK Asset "despite the family relationship of our shareholders.
FWD acquired the lease with CK Asset at a term that is fair and reasonable."
He added that it FWD and CK Asset could again work together in the future should the right opportunity arise.
The insurer plans to arrange social and cultural activities in the area as part of its corporate social responsibility.
It will collaborate with Hong Chi Association " a non-profit organisation that helps people with intellectual disabilities " to create job opportunities for its members and sell items like handmade biscuits, soaps and stationery.