Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Li Ka-shing, a multi-billionaire who once claimed the title of Asia’s wealthiest person, stepped down from his conglomerate in 2018.Credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images Li Ka-shing took plastic flowers and grew an empire. He established his manufacturing company, Cheung Kong, in 1950, at the age of 22. It made him, for a time, the richest man in Asia.There are now nine individuals from China and Hong Kong ahead of Li on the Bloomberg billionaires list. Sixty-eight years later, he stepped down from a conglomerate that has helped his fortune grow to about $32 billion, according to a Bloomberg index. His fortune, like his conglomerate, is diversified. He started buying up properties in 1958 and, according to Bloomberg, had developed one in seven private Hong Kong residences by 1979. He moved onto industries like ports, telecoms, retail, and energy, even picking up the nickname "Superman" along the way for his ever-growing tally of investing successes. Brands like the British mobile network Three grew out of his businesses. Outside of CK Hutchison, Li pursued philanthropic and investing ventures, putting billions of dollars into his eponymoSubscribe or register to read the rest. Registered users can access a limited amount of content for free.Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.