'Hong Kong's Warren Buffet', but No.2

'Hong Kong's Warren Buffet', but No.2

HONG KONG - "Nobody remembers who came in second," once remarked Charles Schulz, the master cartoonist who introduced that ultimate underdog, Charlie Brown, to the world.

For much of his life, Mr Lee Shau Kee has sailed in at No. 2 after Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka Shing.

Relatively small change separates the two. Mr Li is currently worth US$22 billion (S$28 billion) according to Forbes, while Mr Lee comes in at US$20.3 billion.

Well, in this town, it matters.

As businessman Robert Wang wrote in his memoirs Walking The Tycoons' Rope, "the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 is huge".

"The former gets all the attention; when prime ministers visit, they ask to see him. He gets all the media attention. He is sought after by money men. Deals are often presented to him on silver plates. He gets the first bite of the cherry."

But while the charismatic Mr Li nicknamed "Superman" holds court, Mr Lee - his moniker "Hong Kong's Warren Buffet" is perhaps more mortal but hardly shabby either - has made darn sure that nobody forgets who he is.

On Monday, he announced that he is personally donating 100,000 sq ft of farmland in Fanling, in the New Territories, for the construction of 1,000 affordable flats for first-time home buyers.

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