Sunday, December 2, 2007

Facebook Gets Additional Cash from Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka-shing

While many people were beginning to doubt Facebook’s ability to earn more money after getting US$15 billion valuation following a US$240 million investment from Microsoft last month, it seems that the stakes are not to high for Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing to invest US$60 million in the hot social-networking company.

Li Ka-shing, a 79-year-old conglomerate with 250,000 employees worldwide, is better known as the chairperson of Hutchison Whampoa (the network operator branded as 3 in many countries, including UK). He is considered as the richest person in Asia with wealth valued at US$23 billion. He has massive investments in telecommunications, real estate, retail, shipping, electricity and the Internet. Li Ka-shing is not making the investment in Facebook via the companies that he controls. However, he invests in the Facebook through another investment entity.

Besides as the chairperson of Hutchison Whampoa, Li Ka-shing is also the chairperson of Tom Online, the Chinese portal that just went through a big restructuring. Tom Online will now focus on services, rather than news. Perhaps, we will see Facebook to enter China and Tom may enter into a partnership with Facebook.

Li Ka-shing built his fortune from humble beginnings. His family fled mainland China when he was a boy. He dropped out of school at 15 after the death of his beloved father. Then, he started his career as a worker-laborer in a plastics company.

The US$15 billion valuation of Facebook that determined the stake amount Microsoft paid raised eyebrows in the business world. However, it has not deterred Li Ka-shing who has the further option to invest another US$60 million in Facebook.

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