Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Trying to Collect Brownie Points

Lee Shau-kee wants Hong Kong to have warm memories of him
It is interesting to see how persistent tycoon Lee Shau-kee is about donating farm land in Yuen Long so that it can be developed into low-cost flats for young people.

Last month the Hong Kong government rejected his offer after deliberating for five months. Perhaps in the government wanted to avoid bad optics of looking cozy with the developer, or worried there was a catch to the deal that they hadn't yet thought of.

So the government suggested Lee approach non-governmental organizations like the Housing Society about his plan.

He has a 63,500-square-foot site on Shap Pat Heung Road in the New Territories, and Lee had wanted to build 1,058 units at 300 sq ft.

Originally Lee had hoped the government would waive the land premium and pay for the construction costs, but now it looks like he will shell out for both -- but get the money back eventually.

That's because the cost of each flat will be HK$1.2 million, up from HK$1 million; this is because the construction cost of each flat would be about HK$900,000 plus the HK$300,000 land premium.

Why is Lee so anxious to do this?

At the age of 85, it seems like the tycoon is anxious to put himself in the good books with the Hong Kong public after how his peer Li Ka-shing was demonized during the dock workers' strike a few months ago.

Also it seems none of Lee's sons are interested in the property business, while his grandchildren are below the age of eight. Can we mention here that three of them are triplet males that were somehow conceived through a surrogate mother in California?

In any event, Lee has no one in the family to take over the business and so he's starting to off load one of his numerous properties.

While we appreciate his charitable gesture, we'd like to know if he has any concept of how big a 300 sq ft flat is? That's just enough for one person to live in... would something over 400 sq ft be too much to ask so that young couples could live in them?

Just asking...


  1. actually there is a serious potential motive here because Mr. Lee Sau Kee owns the land surrounding the one he is to 'donate'. If somehow the gov't takes up his offer, the land he owns in the area would seriously increase in value (10x)

    personally I think Asian billionaire pales in comparsion to the like of billionaires elsewhere in terms of charity. billionaires at other continents tend to do things for mankind or for true altruism, versus donating in exchange for recognition or fame. This is especially true for the billionaires (or the rich) in HK and China.

    1. Hi nulle -- yes Asian billionaires want to keep the wealth in the family, unlike in the west led by Gates and Buffett to donate their wealth with no strings attached. It's a culture that's going to take a while to take hold in Asia.

  2. I doubt it, a while might be centuries or millienia...

    It is not like Gates and Buffett don't keep the wealth in their families to the likes of 15% of their wealth (meaning their children are cared for..) It is also the work ethic western parents versus Asian parents want to teach their children. Asian billionaires' children will turn into trust-fund kids/society that shielded from society...

    Funny even how Asian (non-PRC) millionaires donate to their community and/or faciliate research...