Pony Ma Huateng, founder of Tencent Holdings Ltd. (00700.HK), said he plans to donate 100 million shares worth more than US$2 billion to the online giant’s charity foundation.
Ma, one of China’s richest people, with a fortune estimated at US$18.8 billion, said the donation would go toward supporting medical, educational and environmental causes in China, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Shares in Tencent, China’s largest social network and online entertainment firm, closed up 0.24 percent at HK$165.70 Monday, making the donation worth about US$2.1 billion.
“After 10 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,” Ma said in a statement Monday.
The Tencent Foundation was established in 2007 and cooperates with other charity organisations, the company said.
A survey of China’s superrich in October found China has overtaken the United States as the country with the most billionaires.
Ma’s large donation is unusual in a country where philanthropy has yet to take off.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett made headlines in 2010 when they invited 50 of China’s richest people to a philanthropy dinner.
A third turned the invitation down, reportedly fearing they would be pressed to donate money.
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