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How a mooncake led Leaf Li to start a Nasdaq-listed broking app

Ng Qi Siang
Ng Qi Siang3/5/2021 07:00 AM GMT+08  • 8 min read
How a mooncake led Leaf Li to start a Nasdaq-listed broking app
Li prefers to define Futu as a “technology firm that does broking”.
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Chinese philosopher Laozi famously said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For Chinese tech billionaire Leaf Li, that step came in the form of a mooncake.

He was then riding high on the success of legendary Chinese tech unicorn Tencent, which he had joined in 2000 as its 18th employee. Serving in several senior management roles such as head of Tencent’s multimedia business and its innovation centre, the computer science and technology graduate helped develop key products like popular social media app Tencent QQ. Rising stock options, he notes, had brought him robust financial security.

But it was a visit from his broker during the Mid-Autumn Festival in 2007 that prompted Li to leave all of this behind. The broker came bearing a mooncake as a gift, and Li asked him why no similar gesture had been offered since 2004 when he began using his services. The response was that the mooncake was a gesture of appreciation for the approximately HK$5 million ($858,149) that he had paid in commission for his large trading volume that year.

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