Sir Y. K. Pao (Pao Yue-kong), 1918–1991, rose from modest origins to become, by the mid-1970s, the world’s largest private ship-owner. His Hong Kong- based company World-Wide Shipping diversified into property, hotels, retail, media, telecommunications, airlines and banking—a hugely influential business empire at a time of rapid regional growth. A philanthropist with extensive international connections, Pao became an unofficial Chinese ambassador at large, forging a strong relationship with the architect of China’s reform, Deng Xiaoping, at the dawn of China’s economic transformation and during the discussions about Hong Kong’s future.
Anna Pao Sohmen was at her father’s side during important events and key meetings with leaders around the world. In this affectionate yet unsentimental account, she recounts the pivotal role played by her father at a key historical juncture and the balance he struck between Chinese and British allegiance, between business and politics, and between capitalism and socialism.