The mouthpiece newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has blasted Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠) after he sold assets in China.
The 87-year-old has been offloading major property investments in China — where growth slowed to a 24-year low last year and has continued to weaken this year — after investing heavily there in the 1990s.
The move, combined with his selling of assets in Hong Kong, has fueled speculation that the richest man in Asia is losing confidence in the Greater China region.
“Capital has no borders while businessmen have their own motherland,” the People’s Daily said on a verified social media account, implicitly questioning his patriotism.
China’s opening up, vast market and favorable policies had been “the key cornerstone” of Li’s success, yet he was now leaving his benefactor in the lurch, it said in a commentary on Sunday on its account on China’s mobile messaging application WeChat, a less formal platform than the printed newspaper itself.
“From the perspective of uncomplicated people, he shared the prosperity while we had good times, but could not beat the odds together with us now that we have difficulties,” the newspaper added. “This is indeed unacceptable emotionally.”
However, it sought to downplay any “negative impact” on confidence in China, saying China offers “a vision that goes beyond money.”
“We don’t need to worry that no investors will come after Li Ka-shing,” it said, adding that the country accounts for more than 12 percent of the global economy.
“What we can do is not to condescend to persuade him to stay or to hurl invectives out of outrage, but to build the country better to make today’s departure tomorrow’s regret,” it said.
The Bloomberg Billionaires index puts Li’s net worth at US$32.9 billion.
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