The ice bucket challenge that went viral in the United States has arrived in Hong Kong. Solina Chau, co-founder of Horizons Ventures and a close associate of tycoon Li Ka-shing, was among the first local business leaders and celebrities to take up the challenge on Tuesday.
Chau has always projected a sober, no-nonsense image, not the type of person who would be game for such a stunt. But when she accepted the challenge from Noam Bardin, chief executive of navigation app Waze, through Facebook, it did make sense. She’s a tech venture capitalist, after all.
Chau, wearing a black suit, sunglasses and bling bling earrings, thanked Bardin for the invitation and took up the challenge together with her Horizons staff at the Peak.
The team then poured buckets of ice-cold water over their heads, followed by lots of delightful screams and laughter. The water was chilly despite the hot weather.
Chau later tagged fashion designer Stella McCartney, Josh Tetrick from artificial egg maker Hampton Creek, and Adam Cheyer, founder of artificial intelligence developer Viv Labs, for the next round of challenge. Many were curious, though, why she didn’t tag her boss Li Ka-shing.
The zany challenge has blown into China as well. But critics say some mainland business leaders have hijacked the charity campaign and turned it into a platform for business promotion.
Xiaomi founder Lei Jun was one of the first businessmen from China to take up the challenge, which was thrown by DST Global founder Yuri Milner, one of the Chinese smartphone brand’s shareholders.
Before taking up the challenge, which also took place on Tuesday, he asked his fans for their suggestions on who he should invite next. Lei decided on canto pop singer and actor Andy Lau, Baidu’s Robin Li and Foxconn’s Terry Guo.
In an apparent attempt to boost his media exposure, Liu Zuohu, chief executive of handset maker One Plus Tech, claimed he was the first Chinese to take up the challenge. However, he has received no invitation so far.
The ice-bucket challenge aims to raise the awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the victim’s brain and spinal cord. World renowned scientist Stephen Hawking is an ALS sufferer.
The challenge is quite simple. A participant has to pour a bucket of ice-cold water over his or her head and post the video on social media, then challenge three people either do the same within 24 hours or make a donation of US$100 to the ALS Association.
The successful campaign has attracted US$15.6 million in donations since it started on July 29.
In the US, business leaders such as Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Tesla’s Elon Mush have all participated.
Interestingly, after Ethel Kennedy, the 86-year-old widow of Robert Kennedy, took the challenge, she nominated President Barack Obama, but he chose to write a check instead.
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