Tech genius and billionaire 'Pony Ma' has set the record for the second largest donation to charity ever in the history of China.
Chairman of billion dollar company Tencent Holdings Ltd. Ma Huateng recently revealed plans to donate 100 million shares of his company to a new charity fund. The shares are estimated to be over $2 billion, earning it the title of the second largest philanthropic donation in the history of China.
The Chinese internet messaging system skyrocketed upon its creation in 1998, transforming from a small project created by Ma and a fellow Shenzhen University classmate into a company that led Ma to become China’s richest man by 2014. Tencent is the country’s largest social network and entertainment firm, known for its mobile messaging services like WeChat and the web portal QQ.com.
Reuters stipulates that Ma, who currently holds a net worth of about $18.8 billion, firmly believes in the need for the wealthy to give back to the system that facilitates success. He announced in a statement Monday:
“After ten years of exploration and participation in philanthropic activities, I increasingly feel that there is a need for a more longer-term, efficient and organized way to give back to society.”
The donation is slated to support development in the education, medical, and environmental sectors throughout China. According to the company, the new fund will be led by a team of professionals who will allocate and direct in much the same way Ma’s own Tencent Foundation, established in 2007, is designed.
While China has surpassed the United States for having the most billionaires in the world, their philanthropic efforts are seriously lacking. Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation researcher Peiran Wei believes Ma’s efforts will provoke a chain reaction that will encourage other wealthy members to give back to the community. He explained that “these people have the business acumen and they know how to deal with the government…They have proven themselves in terms of getting things done.”
Ma was named in Time magazine’s 2007 and 2014 editions as one of the world’s most influential people. Hopefully his philanthropic contributions, and those made by other leading tech-gods like Jack Ma and Joe Tsai will spark similar trends in fellow billionaires throughout China.
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