21 December 1914|
Chaoyang, Guangdong, China
|Died||18 February 2005
|Occupation||Founder of the Lai Sun Group
Owner of Asia Television
|Known for||Lai Sun Group|
Lim Por-yen (Chinese: 林百欣; pinyin: Lín Bǎixīn; b. ca. 1914 – d. 18 February 2005) was a Hong Kong industrialist. He founded the Lai Sun Group (麗新集團), and his family was the biggest shareholder of Asia Television (ATV).
In 1945, and started a factory manufacturing garments in Sham Shui Po for export. Lim earned himself the nickname of "African King" in the 1950s when he exported cheap military uniforms to African countries. His company, Lai Sun Garment, was founded in 1947, and later listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Public service and philanthropy
Deeply attached to his hometown and mainland China, he would start a massive program of donations in the 1980s. He founded four secondary schools in Shantou. In 1994, he would found a technical college there with a donation of ¥35 million, and endowed Shantou City Education Foundation with a further ¥10 million.[nb 3] He is said to have made in excess of ¥700 million in donations to causes throughout China, of which Shantou's share was more than half.[nb 4] He has been a supported of education in Hong Kong by setting up several schools.
He also donated to the University of Hong Kong's SARS Fund and helped to establish the Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole. His support of the HKU Foundation and to the university in general over the years earned him an honorary fellowship in 2003. Lim also endowed an Eye Genetics Research Center (named after him) at the CUHK in 2004.
Lim was implicated in the largest bribery scandal in Taiwan at the time. Lim was arrested by Taiwan's Bureau of Investigation on accusations that he offered NT$200 million in bribes to several officials of the Taipei County Land Administration Bureau, including its former director.
Lim owned some land originally slated for farming and industrial use. After Lim bought it, officials allocated the land for the new National Taipei University, allowing him to sell the land back to Taipei County for more than NT$890 million (US$28.6 million), an estimated NT$300 million above market value. He is alleged to have bribed officials to rezone the land.
In 1999, he was found guilty on charges of bribery and money laundering through the land deals, but his prison sentence of 38 months was reduced by one year. His appeal of this conviction was still under consideration at the time of his death.
His second wife, U Po-chu (余寶珠), is a 50-year veteran of the garment industry, and is a non-executive director of Lai Sun Garment. His third wife is Gu Shui-ying (顧瑞英) and his fourth wife is Choy Yim-yu (蔡艷如).
Lim's eldest son, Lam Kin-ming (林建名), works for Lai Sun's Crocodile Garments.[nb 6] His second son, by his second wife, U Po-chu, is Peter Lam (林建岳) head of Media Asia Group and the Lai Sun Group. Their relations were under considerable strain when Peter acquired Furama Hotel Enterprises without consulting him. Lim Por-yen also had a daughter, Pearl Lam, from whom he was estranged, reportedly due to debts incurred from a property investment.[nb 7] She runs an art gallery and reports that her parents disapproved of her art career, forcing her to study accounting and financial management, and later law. He has an adopted son, Lam Kin-hong (林建康), who is responsible for mainland property investments in Hong Kong listed Lai Fung Holdings.[nb 6]
On 10 December 2004, he gifted his 33.73% stake in Lai Sun Internatational equally to Peter and his mother.[nb 8]
Lim died on 18 February 2005 from a lung infection; he was in his 90s.
- Dennis Eng, A little less debt for ailing Lai Sun, The Standard, 18 November 2002
- Raymond Wang and Teddy Ng, Lai Sun Group founder Lim dies, The Standard, 19 February 2005
- Prof. S K Lam, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (16 December 2003) Honorary University Fellows: Lim Por-yen University of Hong Kong
- Xinhua (27 March 2004) Genetic test helps diagnose eye diseases: HK expert, People's Daily
- HK tycoon Lim Por-yen passes away, China Daily (20 February 2005)
- Pearl Lam - HK Magazine bio, By Leanne Mirandilla, 17 May 2012
- 13元錢起家的一代富豪:林百欣生前身後事 "The Lim Por-yen story", CCTV, 17 October 2005 (Chinese)