Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL, 和記黃埔有限公司), (HKSE: 0013 (http://www.hkex.com.hk/invest/index.asp?id=company/quote_page_e.asp?WidCoID=0013&WidCoAbbName=&Month=&langcode=e)) , of Hong Kong, is one of the largest companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It is headed by Li Ka Shing, the wealthiest Chinese individual.
It has over 150,000 employees worldwide
It operates in industries related to:
- ports and related services, including Hong Kong's major port operations
- telecommunication, including the Hutchison Telecommunications, Hutch, 3 (telecommunications) and a CDMA cell phone network in Australia under license from the Orange Group.
- real estate and hotels
- retail and manufacturing, such as Park’N Shop grocery stores, Fortress electronics and houseware, and Watson's personal care stores in Asia. In Europe, the Savers and Kruidvat Group.
- energy and infrastructure, Hongkong Electric the predominant energy supplier to Hong Kong, and Husky Energy of Canada.
Hutchison Whampoa was also Asia's largest satellite television broadcaster until they sold their stake in Star TV to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
There have been charges made by conservative critics of China in the United States that Hutchison Whampoa provides a means by which the People's Liberation Army intends to gain control over the Panama Canal. However, many people see these charges are baseless. Some critics (including Howard Phillips, Chairman of the US Conservative Caucus, and Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch) contend that contracts putting large parts of the Panama Canal under Hutchison Whampoa control were handled in a corrupt manner. They also have suggested that in letting Hutchison Whampoa control the Panama Canal they may be putting it under control of the Chinese government, since Hutchison Whampoa has "strong links to the Chinese Communist Party".
A previously declassified US intelligence report has stated “Hutchison Whampoa’s owner, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, has extensive business ties in Beijing and has compelling financial reasons to maintain a good relationship with China’s leadership.” Another report US intelligence report states, "“Li is directly connected to Beijing and is willing to use his business influence to further the aims of the Chinese Government. He has positioned his son, Victor Li, to replace him in certain Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa operations such as HW’s Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT). ... Li’s interest in the Panama canal is not only strategic, but also as a means for outside financial opportunities for the Chinese government.” (Intelligence report source (http://www.judicialwatch.org/cases/85/globalwhampoa.htm))
Frank Gaffney, of the Center for Security Policy, has written that Whampoa "is currently hard at work acquiring a presence for China at other strategic 'choke points' around the world, including notably the Caribbean's Bahamas, the Mediterranean's Malta, and the Persian Gulf's Straits of Hormuz. At a moment inconvenient to the United States, such access could translate into physical or other obstacles to our use of such waterways." (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/EC25Ad04.html)
Hutchison Whampoa have also been criticized for heavy-handedness towards British art charity The Couper Collection, by The Daily Mirror and Telegraph (2002), and The Sunday Times (2004). See article on the Sunday Times website (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1279568,00.html). The dispute also involves British architect Norman Foster.
In March 2003, after an exposť in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh, the neoconservative Richard Perle resigned from US Defense Policy Board after lobbying on behalf of Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications company. Perle had attempted to persuade Hutchison Whampoa to buy the company. The FBI said at the time that selling Global Crossing to Hutchison Whampoa would give Whampoa control of the world's largest fiber optic network, and allow it to oversee existing contracts for secure Pentagon communications. Hutchison Whampoa is alleged to have many dealings with front companies for the People's Liberation Army in China. Democratic legislator, Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan requested that Pentagon to investigate Perle's business dealings. Perle was to receive a total payment of $725,000 for his advisory work, $650,000 of which would be contingent on the sale going through. Ironically, many of Perle's neoconservative allies were critical of the Clinton administration for accepting campaign donations that allegedly came from China, as well as attacking the Clinton administration for not blocking the 1999 sale of parts of the Panama Canal to Hutchison Whampoa, saying it would give China too much control. Retired Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks, who served on the Defense Ppolicy Board during the Clinton administration, said Perle's actions were "certainly questionable. It sounds like he's squeezing every nickel out of the Defense Policy Board", whilst Larry Noble, director of the Center for Responsible Politics, said "This is a conflict of interest. He's using his position on the board to win business."
- Hutchison Whampoa (http://www.hutchison-whampoa.com/)
- Intelligence report (http://www.softwar.net/panama1.html)