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Hong Kong Billionaire to Establish Large Canadian Foundation

January 23, 2005

(Jan. 24, 2005) A Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist has announced he will establish a new charitable foundation in Canada with startup funding expected to be in the hundreds of millions, and possibly billions, of dollars (Canadian).

Li Ka Shing, who has already given more than C$1 billion to Hong Kong charitable causes, will create the Li Ka Shing Canada Foundation through sales of his 4.9 percent stake in the Canadian Bank of Commerce. All available funds from that sale (approximately C$1.2 billion) will be donated to charitable causes in Canada, although Shing has not indicated how much will be directed toward his foundation. Even if only half of the proceeds were donated to the institution, it would quickly become the second-largest foundation in Canada, exceeded only by the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation in Montreal, Quebec.

Shing's rags-to-riches story is well known in Asia. Born and raised in mainland China, he began working at a toy factory as a teenager when his father died. He earned his first real money making plastic flowers in the late 1950s in Hong Kong. From there he built a much larger fortune, investing in real estate and buying a well-known British trading house. Today, he is one of the world's richest individuals, estimated to be worth more than US$12 billion.

'It is an honor to have the opportunity to establish the Li Ka Shing Canada Foundation in recognition of the warm welcome Canada has extended to me and to our group of companies over the years,' Shing said in a press release.

The Li Ka Shing Canada Foundation is expected to address a broad range of charitable causes. It has already applied for registration as a charity in Canada.