Chairman, Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa
In Hong Kong they call him "superman" - and his feats in business are indeed the stuff of legend. Born in China, Li, 79, came to Hong Kong as a refugee. Forced to drop out of high school, he founded his first company, a plastics manufacturing concern, in his early 20s. Through Cheung Kong (Holdings), his corporate flagship, and Hutchison Whampoa, a conglomerate, he wields enormous influence in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Europe, which last year accounted for 45% of Hutchison's $34.3 billion in revenues.
Li's empire includes the world's biggest ports company and the world's largest provider of 3G mobile-phone services, plus holdings in shipping, property, retailing, and energy. And he is not slowing down. Last year Hutchison's profits and EPS rose 40%, and Li, who may be Asia's richest man, remains keenly interested in a new business school he is financing in Beijing. --Clay Chandler