HK billionaire to pay $14m in tuition fees for Chinese students

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Li Ka-Shing

Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing has pledged to pay the tuition fees for a class of Chinese university students through his charitable foundation.

The Li Ka-Shing Foundation will fund Shantou University’s 2019 incoming class for up to five years.

Mr Li, aged 90, is worth $30.4bn (£24.2bn) according to Forbes.

Last month billionaire Robert F Smith made a similar move, saying he would pay the loans of a US college class.

The Li Ka-Shing Foundation will cover full tuition for four to five years for undergraduates, starting with the incoming class of 2019 at Shantou University, in the Guangdong province of China.

The move will cost 100m Chinese yuan ($14.4m; £11.5m) a year.

“The Foundation hopes this scheme can alleviate financial burdens for families and encourage the pursuit of personal interests and further learning to better prepare graduates for the challenges of an increasingly complex global economy,” the foundation said in a statement.


Mr Li, who has a rags-to-riches story after starting work sweeping factory floors as a young boy, was ranked 28th on Forbes rich list in 2019.

He retired from his business empire last year, handing over the reins to his eldest son Victor Li.

The Li family’s CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings groups are involved in sectors including retail, telecoms and power.

Mr Li was one of the first Hong Kong tycoons to invest in mainland China, and property accounts for a big part in his wealth.

The billionaire was knighted by the UK in 2000, and earned the nickname “Superman” for his business and investment success.

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Media captionThe moment a billionaire cleared a whole class’s student debt

Mr Li’s generosity comes on the heels of a similar move by American philanthropist Robert F Smith.

Last month the billionaire tech investor shocked graduating students in Atlanta, Georgia, by telling them he would pay off all of their student loans.

Nearly 400 students stand to benefit from the pledge to wipe out their debt, thought to be worth $40m.

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