Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, co-founders of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., announced on Friday the creation of charitable trusts to be funded by share options that represent about 2 percent of the e-commerce company.
The move could boost Alibaba’s image ahead of its much-awaited initial public offering in the United States, which is expected to raise about US$15 billion.
The trusts will fund various philanthropic activities in China, Hong Kong and other countries, and will initially focus on the environment, medicine, education and culture, the company said in a statement. The grant of share options to the trusts was approved by Alibaba’s board of directors last year.
“We must assume responsibility and take action to improve the environment that our children will inherit, and this is why I strongly support the efforts of The Nature Conservancy and agreed to take on the role of China chairman last year,” Ma said.
For his part, Tsai said: “I hope that by taking this path and drawing attention to these issues, we raise awareness among even more people, and that we inspire and encourage our peers, partners and other entrepreneurs to join us in our philanthropic efforts.”
Since 2010, Alibaba has earmarked 0.3 percent of the company’s annual revenue to fund its charitable foundation. This is in addition to Ma’s pledge to donate all of his economic interests in Yunfeng Fund, a private equity group, to the foundation.
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