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News > Alumni > Tech Entrepreneur Reconnects

Tech Entrepreneur Reconnects

Danny Li, successful tech entrepreneur and a member of the Class of 1987, shares his fond memories of NGS, his exciting business ventures and his passion for fast cars.

Danny Li, Class of 1987, recently visited Newcastle Grammar School, 35 years after graduating.

Danny studied Computer Science at the University of Technology Sydney and worked for several years in Sydney before venturing to Hong Kong. He began his entrepreneurial journey involved in the early developments of internet and mobile telecommunications across China and spent the greater part of his career working in the technology industry throughout Asia.

These days, he is enjoying semi-retirement and indulging in his passion for cars. But Danny also keeps a keen eye on tech start-ups. He has helped many achieve success.

Danny has lived overseas for more than 26 years but has always maintained a fondness for his time at NGS. He is kept informed about developments at the school by nieces, nephews, and their children. Five members of the Li family, across two generations, have attended the School, and there are currently two more about to commence their NGS journey.

Recently, Danny had a chance to visit NGS. “I was filled with great memories and a sense of pride, seeing how much the School has developed and grown to be where it is today,” he said. “I attended during simpler, less distracted times.” Danny said the visit reminded him of how much Newcastle Grammar School means to him. “I really appreciate how special NGS was and how it shaped the person I am today,” he said.

Danny particularly recalls the friendships he made with his peers, but also with teachers who had passion for their roles and helped students to achieve and to stand out. One of his fondest memories is of Mr Laurie McIntyre, who insisted on keeping Danny in his English class for the first four years of Senior school. Mr McIntyre was concerned that English, being Danny’s second language, might disadvantage him in his studies. Together, they overcame that obstacle!

“This commitment to the students epitomised what NGS was all about,” Danny said. “It continues to remind me to never forget where we came from and to always do right by those around you.”

Danny has been lucky enough to travel extensively, both for business and pleasure. He has worked in the US, and all over South East Asia and Greater China. He has often travelled on a weekly basis between Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. Before COVID-19, he was also travelling regularly between Japan, South Korea and Thailand to play golf.

Danny’s other passion is classic cars; he has collected and owned many over the years. His current favourite is a racy 911 Porsche. “To my wife’s dismay, I spend perhaps too much time with and around cars,” he quipped. Danny’s wife, Mai, is originally from Canada, with family spread across North America and Europe. So, many festive occasions and birthdays have been spent in various locations around the world.

Having achieved a great deal and led a fascinating life so far, with plenty more adventures in store, Danny had sage words of advice for today’s students: “Keep an open mind and never be afraid to fail. It’s through failure that you learn to better yourself and find your own success. This is what I’ve learnt throughout my career, especially during the rollercoaster of early internet days.”

Danny added that we are entering a new frontier with technology which will have a greater impact upon all our lives — more than ever before — and that keeping an open mind is key to keeping up and playing our roles. His parting words to our current students:

“What you learn today is to develop your minds to think freely and creatively. Be open to opportunities, whatever they may be and wherever they may take you.”

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