Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing explains why he wears a $680 wristwatch

Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing explains why he wears a $680 wristwatch

Noted Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing may be a billionaire who can well afford many of life's luxuries, but when it comes to his personal timepiece, it is a solar-powered Citizen Eco-Drive watch estimated to cost US$500 (S$672.98) that adorns his wrist.

While US$500 is not small change to many, but for Hong Kong's richest man, the choice may be a surprise.

The 88-year-old revealed this personal piece of information during an in-depth video interview with Bloomberg, when the reporter took notice of his understated timepiece. According to the news agency, the billionaire only recently "upgraded" to the US$500 Citizen, and wore a simple Seiko watch for decades, shunning the Rolexes, Panerais and Patek Philippes. 

He goes on to explain why he "made the switch" three years ago: "You have five minutes, you can charge (it), you don't need to charge the battery, and you can go swimming."

When asked if his friends tease him about the watch, he replied: "No, because they know my character."

He goes on to say that he likes that he doesn't have to be careful with the watch.

"Suppose this watch is a hundred thousand dollars. I need to be careful," said Li. "But this is a few hundred US dollars, I can play golf, I go swimming, get any exercise, I don’t need to be careful."

Shanghaiist reported that the best part of the interview was when the reporter revealed her own wristwatch, a Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with a diamond bezel, "which is estimated to cost 30 times as much as Li's more frugal alternative".

Li Ka-shing's tips on how to make more money

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    Having trouble envisioning yourself with your own home and a car in the near future? The richest man in Asia, Li Ka-shing, has some tips for you.

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    Lee suggests that wage-earners put their monthly salary proportionately into five sets of funds with different purposes.

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    The first fund with 30% of your salary, second with 20%, third with 15%, fourth with 10%, and fifth with 25%.

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    The first set of funds is used for living expenses. It's a simple way of living and you can only be assigned to less than twenty dollars a day. A daily breakfast of vermicelli, an egg and a cup of milk.

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    When you are young, the body will not have too many problems for a few years with this way of living, he says.

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    This will make you well off. Your phone bills can be budgeted at RMB 100. You can buy your friends 2 lunches a month, each at $150.

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    Who should you buy lunch for? Always remember to buy lunch for people who are more knowledgeable than you, richer than you or people who have helped you in your career. Make sure you do that every month.

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    After one year, your circle of friends should have generated tremendous value for you. Your reputation, influence, added value will be clearly recognised. You'll also enhance your image of being good and generous.

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    Monthly spend about RMB 50 to RMB 100 to buy books. Because you don't have a lot of money, you should pay attention to learning. When you buy the books, read them carefully and learn the lessons and strategies that is being taught in the book. Each book, after reading them, put them into your own language to tell the stories.Sharing with others can improve your credibility and enhance the affinity.

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    Also save up $200 per month to attend a training course. When you have higher income or additional savings, try to participate in more advanced training. When you participate in good training, not only do you learn good knowledge, you also get to meet like-minded friends who are not easy to come by.

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    Reward yourself by traveling at least once a year. Continue to grow from the experience of life. Stay in youth hostels to save cost.

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    In a few years you would have travelled to many countries and have different experiences. Use that experience to recharge yourself so that you'll continually have passion in your work.

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    Save the $500 in your bank and grow it as your initial startup capital. The capital can then be used to do a small business. Small business is safe. Go to wholesalers and look for products to sell. Even if you lose money, you will not lose too much money.

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    However, when you start earning money, it will boost your confidence and courage and have a whole new learning experience of running a small business.

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    Earn more and you can then begin to buy long-term investment plans and get long-term security on your financial wealth being of yourself and your families. So that no matter what happens, there will be adequate funds and the quality of life will not decline.

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    Well, after struggling for a year and if your second year salary is still RMB 2,000, then that means you have not grown as a person. You should be really ashamed of yourself. Do yourself a favour and go to the supermarket and buy the hardest tofu. Take it and smash it on your head because you deserve that.

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    Doing sales is challenging, but it is the fastest way for you to acquire the art of selling and this is a very deep skill that you will be able to carry it for the rest of your career.

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    No matter how much you earn, always remember to divide it into five parts proportionately. Always make yourself useful. Increase your investment in networking. When you increase your social investment, expand your network of contacts, your income also grows proportionately.

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    Increase your investment in learning, strengthen your self confidence, increase investment in holidays, expand your horizons and increase investment in the future, and that will ultimately increase your income.

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    Soon, you will be able to gradually realise your various dreams, the need to buy your own house, car, and to prepare an adequate education fund for your child's future.

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    Life can be designed. Career can be planned. Happiness can be prepared. You should start planning now. When you are poor, spend less time at home and more time outside. When you are rich, stay at home more and less outside. This is the art of living.

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    There is nothing wrong with being young. You do not need to be afraid of being poor. You need to know how to invest in yourself and increase your wisdom and stature. You need to know what is important in life and what is worth investing in.

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    You also need to know what you should avoid and not spend your money on. This is the essence of discipline. Try to avoid spending money on clothing, but buy a selective number of items that have class.

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    Once your livelihood is no longer an issue, use the remainder of your money to pursue your dreams. Spread your wings and dare to dream! Make sure you live an extraordinary life!

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    Everybody makes mistakes. It's what you learn from the mistakes, and promising yourself not to repeat those mistakes that matters. When you miss opportunities, don't dwell on it, as there are always new opportunities on the horizon.

 

Another nugget of information uncovered during the interview was that Li always sets his watch 30 minutes before time.

Why? "Because even if I forget an appointment, anywhere in Hong Kong, I can be there in half an hour," he said simply.

The tycoon recently attended commencement ceremonies at Shantou University, where the speech he delivered went viral on social media, China Daily reported.

In his speech, described as "inspirational", Li told 2,161 graduates that in order  to stand out in an era when technology empowers machines with the ability to make observations and think logically, humans need to keep on learning with a humble attitude, to be open to new ideas and to be compassionate.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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