China: Corporations contribute to majority of domestic philanthropic donations, according to report

Author: Siodhbhra Parkin, SupChina, Published on: 5 September 2019

“The problems with giving it all away: Philanthropy in China”, 29 August, 2019

In September 2018, the co-founder and executive chairman of ecommerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma… announced he would be retiring from the company to focus more fully on philanthropy in education… in 2013, the co-founder of Tencent and its chief administrative officer, Yidan “Charles” Chen… stepped down from his enormously successful tech company to work on his own large-scale philanthropic initiatives — also with a focus on education…

Ma and Chen are of course only part of a much larger story, one that is reshaping the relationship between the private sector and Chinese society at large: the growing size and impact of philanthropy…

According to a recently published report by the Asian Philanthropy Venture Network, the total amount of domestic philanthropic donations in China in 2017 reached USD $23.4 billion dollars… This is the highest recorded annual amount of philanthropic giving in modern Chinese history. Further, if the last few years of year-on-year growth rates are any indication… the philanthropic sector looks likely to continue to grow in coming years.

Of the $24 billion donated to philanthropic causes in China in 2017, the vast majority was provided by Chinese corporations rather than individuals; $14 billion and $4 billion, respectively…

… according to a report by the Chinese Global Philanthropy Initiative, in 2014, philanthropic contributions to educational causes constituted 62 percent of all donations for that year alone… Other perennially popular causes among Chinese philanthropists are poverty alleviation, public health, and environmental protection, though this latter issue area receives significantly less attention from donors than its counterparts… there is a perceived security in giving exclusively or primarily to high-profile organizations or issue areas…

… Chinese philanthropy expert Oma Lee… noted… in addition to the government’s efforts to improve regulations, universities and private companies are also working to professionalize the philanthropic sector and develop a more widespread culture of charitable giving…

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Related companies: Alibaba.com Tencent