Li Ka-shing leads growing philanthropic trend among rich Chinese
Asia's richest man and chairman of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, Li Ka-shing announced plans last year to give a third of his fortune, estimated to be more than $30 billion, to his foundations, which fund philanthropic projects around the world. The donation will give the Li Ka-shing Foundation an endowment that rivals that of the Ford Foundation.
Nor is he a lone figure. According to the Hurun Report, which chronicles philanthropy in China, dozens of high-profile Chinese entrepreneurs are following his lead. Talk-show host Yang Lan has donated an estimated $72 million to set up a foundation that will work to promote cultural exchanges, environmental protection, and education reform, while Yu Pengnian, the head of the Shenzhen Pengnian Hotels empire, has donated close to $270 million – roughly 80 per cent of his net worth – to healthcare causes, including cataract operations for thousands in rural China. While the Chinese government, concerned about growing wealth disparities in the country, has become more open than previously to private philanthropy, some administrative and cultural barriers remain. The government still requires that all donations be funnelled through it, and there is a traditional view that family money should remain within the family. Li believes that these barriers will be overcome. ‘In the US, philanthropic support from entrepreneurs is tightly integrated into the fabric of society,’ he said in an interview. ‘Now, slowly, China will know this.’
For more information: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10009670/story and www.hurun.net/listen61.aspx