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Bloomberg

Old-School Tycoons of Hong Kong Are Losing to China’s Moguls

(Bloomberg) — The prediction was vintage Jack Ma, as provocative as it was prescient.“This is the era of the internet,” the Chinese billionaire proclaimed in October 2013, just weeks after his plan to take Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. public in Hong Kong had been scuttled by regulators. “It no longer belongs to Li Ka-shing.”Ma’s dig at the famed Hong Kong tycoon raised plenty of eyebrows at the time, but few would disagree with him now. The past few years have seen a remarkable shift in fortunes between China’s tech-savvy moguls and their old-school Hong Kong counterparts — a trend that shows few signs of fading any time soon.Even as Xi Jinping’s government moves to curb the clout of Ma and some of his peers, the combined wealth of China’s 10 richest people has surged threefold since 2016 to $425 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. For Hong Kong, it doubled to $218 billion during the same period. Li, once Asia’s richest person, is now ranked No. 13, several spots below Ma, who eventually listed Alibaba in New York in 2014.The changes underscore the fading relevance of Hong Kong businessmen who built their empires on real estate, ports, infrastructure, telecommunications, aviation and retail.At their peak, when the former British colony was the indispensable gateway to a rapidly developing mainland China, Li and his peers were courted by Beijing for their business acumen and access to overseas capital. These days their political clout is waning and their businesses are increasingly viewed by investors as stale.What’s more, Hong Kong’s future as a financial hub is facing an existential threat as China’s Communist Party chips away at the “one country, two systems” framework that has underpinned the city’s success for decades.One consequence has been

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