World

Tycoon donates $173m as Hang Seng Index passes milestone

HONG KONG The billionaire chairman of Hong Kong developer Henderson Land Development said he will donate HK$1 billion (S$172 million) to charity after the city's benchmark index surpassed the 30,000-point level, keeping a pledge he made seven years ago.

Mr Lee Shau Kee, nicknamed "Hong Kong's Warren Buffett", promised in his 2010 autobiography that he would donate HK$1 billion when the Hang Seng Index surpassed 30,000 points - a level last scaled in November 2007 - and would continue to donate that sum each year the index stayed above that level.

"He will donate HK$2 billion a year if the index goes above 40,000 points as part of his aspiration of helping millions of people," Henderson Land spokesman Bonnie Ngan said.

"We have checked with our boss and Mr Lee says he will keep his promise and will donate HK$1 billion."

The Hang Seng Index ended above 30,000 points for the first time in 10 years on Wednesday, closing at 30,003.49, amid signs that Chinese investors are stepping up buying of Hong Kong stocks. The blue-chip index extended gains yesterday, rising 0.1 per cent to 30,024 by lunch break.

With a net worth of US$28.7 billion (S$38.6 billion), Mr Lee ranks as Hong Kong's second richest person, after tycoon Li Ka Shing. Forbes listed him No. 32 on its list of billionaires globally. - REUTERS

COMMUNITY ISSUES