Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Richard Li on the Internet ( early 1990s Post Star Deal )

digital china/harvard: news_04_14_98_01: "Hong Kong Tycoon Seeks Internet Success (Mark Landler, The New York Times)

For four years, people here have been asking Richard Li the question he is tired of hearing but knows he cannot escape: What will you do next? Hong Kong is an impatient place, and this lean, tightly wound 31-year- old has a reputation and a family pedigree to live up to.

The reputation was made in the early 1990s, when Li started Asia's first satellite-delivered cable television service, Star TV, and then sold a controlling stake to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $525 million in 1993. His pedigree is even more formidable: He is the second son of Hong Kong's most prominent tycoon, Li Ka-shing, and heir to a fortune estimated at near $9 billion.

Li's rarefied background has made him the subject of endless gossip by rivals in Hong Kong business, who wonder what he might do for an encore. On March 12, they got an answer. Li announced plans to start a digital media company to provide Internet access and other information services to television sets and personal computers throughout Asia.

In a part of the world where firsthand experience with the Internet remains a rarity, Li's is an audacious undertaking -- all the more so because Asia is limping through the worst economic downturn since the end of World War II.

But Li's company, Pacific Century Group, has signed Intel as a partner to provide financing and technological expertise for the venture. And Li says the region's financial turmoil only dramatizes the need for better, faster information.

'What separated the countries that did OK from those that didn't was the availability of information,' said Li over breakfast at his offices, which had a panoramic view of Victoria harbor until his father "


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