Meet our members: Matthias Li

Meet the chair of the CPA Canada Hong Kong Chapter board, Matthias Li, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, Ocean Park Corporation.

A Q&A with Matthias Li, Chair, CPA Canada Hong Kong chapter

Fast facts

  • academic background: B.Com, MBA, University of Toronto
  • professional qualification: CA (1982, Ontario), CMA (1983, Ontario) and FCMA (2013)
  • first accounting-related job: articled with Arthur Andersen & Co. (AA), Toronto
  • hobbies: travel, wine and good food
  • favourite movie: anything James Bond

What is your current position?

I left Arthur Anderson & Co. in 1982 and joined the Bank of Montreal, where I managed multinational corporate accounts and special loans/workouts. I then headed the financial analysts department before becoming the director of the Asia Pacific region, looking after financial and government institutions.

I was recruited by Ocean Park Corporation (OPC) to become its chief financial officer in 1994. In 2001, I assumed the deputy chief executive role as well. OPC is an animal-based theme park in Hong Kong which has over 2,000 employees and an annual attendance in excess of seven million. It is the fourth-largest theme park in Asia and 14th largest in the world.

What is the best part of your job?

The experience of having very close encounters with special animals. I have been able to hold a one-year-old baby giant panda, swim with six whale sharks in the ocean and swim with a group of tunas in the ocean. It’s wonderful to work with people dedicated to nature and wildlife conservation.

What is your biggest business or career accomplishment?

Leading Ocean Park to become of one of the top theme parks in the world, winning the industry’s most prestigious Applause Award (equivalent to “best theme park in the world”) in 2013, and being awarded the “Leader of the China Theme Park Industry” in 2014.

What are you most proud of?

Being a professional accountant trained in Canada. This training has provided me with a solid foundation to build my career.

What advice would you give someone entering the profession?

Always be passionate in what you do (or take jobs that you are passionate about), and maintain a positive attitude, specifically viewing obstacles or difficulties as opportunities.

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