Solina Chau Hoi-shuen
|Alma mater||University of New South Wales|
|Occupation||Cofounder Horizons Ventures|
Solina Chau Hoi Shuen (周凱旋) (born c. 1961) is a businesswoman in Hong Kong, a business partner in the Cheung Kong Group, and director of the Li Ka Shing Foundation. She is also a major stockholder in Tom.com, a publication and advertising company in the People's Republic of China.
Early life and education
Chau was born in 1961 as the daughter of a Hong Kong small time businessman. She attended the prestigious Diocesan Girls' School in Hong Kong, where was elected junior house captain. She sat the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination in 1978 and graduated in 1979. Upon her graduation, she went on to continue her education in Sydney, Australia at the University of New South Wales.
After living in Australia, Chau lived and worked in London during the 1980s for a short period of time. During the late 1980s, she befriended Debbie Chang, would eventually become one of her longest running business partners.
Chau's first notable achievement within Hong Kong business circles was winning a project to build the Oriental Square in downtown Beijing in 1993. This project, and many others during her early career were accomplished in involvement with former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, Debbie Chang's cousin. Chau also met Li Ka-shing around this time, and the two would later become known for their close companionship and various business partnerships.
In 1999, with Li's help, Chau set up Tom, a Chinese language media comopany, as a Cayman Island registered limited company as a minority (40%) partner together with Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong Holdings in a series of transactions which netted her an estimated US$11 million in cash even before the company began to trade. When Tom was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Chau's investment in Tom grew to UCS$1.63 billion, making her the then second-richest woman in Hong Kong.
In 2002, Chau invested RMB ￥ 1 million into an interactive voice-recognition service provider, Beijing Leitingwuji Network Technology Company Limited (北京雷霆无极网络科技有限公司). In September 2003, before the company was even profitable, she sold it to TOM Group for the sum of US$132 million. Its subsidiary TOM Online was then separately listed on the Growth Enterprise Market of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in early 2004. Chau remained a 9.998% shareholder in Tom Online until 12 March 2007, when Tom Group announced an offer for the outstanding shares in Tom Online, to take the company private. Chau also has a 24% stake in TOM Group prior to the announcement.
In 2002, Chau cofounded Horizons Ventures with Debbie Chang, who is the only person named as a director. Li Ka-shing only became an investor in the firm two years after its founding, but his backing as the richest man in Asia has helped the firm stand out above the crowd. Under Chau, Horizons Ventures has invested over US$470 million in more than 80 tech companies, in search of "disruptive" tech entrepreneurs. Its primary investments have been in the United States and Israel, with at least 28 investments in each country respectively since 2006.
Chau has personally stated that her business interests center around nurturing Western companies, viewing them as more innovative. Chau has been noted to invest in companies very quickly, sometimes within 24 hours of startup owners, or immediately after a short coffee meeting. Chau typically brings investments ranging anywhere from $1 million to $20 million to the table. Horizons was incorporated in Hong Kong in 2006. With her direction, the Li Ka-shing foundation has also invested in tech giants such as Facebook, Slack, and Spotify.
Chau is well known for her decades long friendship with Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, who she met through a mutual friend in the 1990s. Li is 33 years her senior and is Chau's closest confidant, and the pair have backed and advised each other through many of their projects. Chau has been seen kneeling down in public to tie Li's shoelaces and holding his umbrella in the rain. Chau has compared their relationship to that of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote.
In 2012, Chau sued Hong Kong distributor of Beijing-based Caijing under accusations of defamation, with the magazine having made claims of Chau accepting bribes from a mainland government official. Mainland courts ruled in December 2012 that Beijin Caijing Magazine Limited was liable for defamation and ordered the company to publish an apology. Chau's camp has accepted these terms.
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