Some Billionaires Are Just Regular Folks, as JMSC Alum Learns

JMSC alum Samantha Wang gets a call from Li Ka-shing

JMSC alum Samantha Wang gets a call from Li Ka-shing

Journalists are usually lucky if they can get big-time businessmen like Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing to talk to them at all.

JMSC alum Samantha Wang (BJ 2008), who works as a reporter for the Chinese-language Ming Pao newspaper in Hong Kong, got a brief interview with Li in early February – and then received a call back from Hong Kong’s richest man, to make sure she had understood the points he made the first time around.

Ben Kwok (MJ 2003), himself a JMSC alum, wrote about the incident a couple of days later in his Lai See column in the South China Morning Post.

As Kwok told the story (and Wang confirmed it), Wang waited outside Li’s mansion on the South Side of Hong Kong Island early one morning, and buttonholed him “as he was on his way to his daily round of golf.”

“He was keen to tell her his views about the (Hong Kong) stock exchange’s proposal to extend the directors’ blackout period,” Kwok wrote.

That would normally have been the end of it, but 10 minutes later, Wang’s phone rang.  Li, who had taken her business card, was calling back “to check that the mainland-born reporter, who recently came to Hong Kong, had fully grasped what he said.

Saying he did not want to let her down, he proceeded to spell it out again.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if more terribly busy executives and political leaders took a few minutes to make sure reporters got the full and accurate story?  It would probably help eliminate a lot of misunderstandings.

Li didn’t go overboard in his cooperation with the news media, however.  As Kwok wrote it, “The cautious Mr Li had made sure his mobile number was not displayed on Ms Wang’s phone.”