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http://www.abc.net.au/correspondents/content/2006/s1616649.htm

Correspondents Report - Saturday, 15 April , 2006
Reporter: John Taylor
HAMISH ROBERTSON: The old saying that charity begins at home seems to have been taken to heart by the new class of wealthy entrepreneurs in China.

China's rich are happily dipping into their own fortunes to help the country's needy, although not without some official prompting.

As John Taylor reports, as China's prosperity continues to increase – at least for some – the authorities have been trying to encourage a culture of generosity.

JOHN TAYLOR: "Some people have to get rich faster than others" has been one of many mantras that have accompanied China's quarter century of rapid economic growth.

But China is still home to about 18 per cent of the world's poor. About 150 million people live on less than $1 a day.

The Government is hard pressed to provide for all its people. As a result many of the poor endure sickness without medical help and struggle to educate their children.

Chinese people regularly give money and aid to friends and relatives. It's culturally very important in a country where laws and institutions have for centuries largely run second to personal relationships.

But in recent years the national Government, charities, and emerging non-government organisations have been stressing the need for greater giving at home.

The Government says philanthropy is a vital part of China's social security system.

Yet the growing number of rich, and very rich in China, have long stood accused of not wanting to give back to the community.

In a recent front page article, the national China Daily English language newspaper said that the rich in China are often derided for a perceived lack of social responsibility.

But like so much else here, it seems to be changing.

Rupert Hoogewerf is the author of a new reporting detailing China's most generous philanthropists.

RUPERT HOOGEWERF: The finding is that the rich in China are becoming more and more generous.

The first place on our list was Mr Yu Pengnian who's 84-years-old whose given $US 250 million to charity in the last two or three years.

JOHN TAYLOR: The Hurun Report's Chinese Philanthropists List attempts to uncover the country's top 100 givers through surveys, interviews, news reports and charity foundation filings.

Mr Hoogewerf says in China last year $US 600 million was donated to charitable organisations. But that compared with $US 250 billion in the United States.

But it's the explosive growth rate in China that has him excited.

RUPERT HOOGEWERF: Chinese entrepreneurs today have one big thing in common. They're all first generation. 25 years ago most of these entrepreneurs were poor or they suffered through … for historical reasons in China.

And I think they then suffered and are willing to give back to society and to help people to have what they didn't have at the time.

JOHN TAYLOR: Setting the standard is one of the oldest men on the list, 84-year-old Shenzhen hotelier and real estate businessman, Yu Pengnian.

RUPERT HOOGEWERF: Having seen somebody like Mr Yu Pengnian give $US 250 million to charity, I mean, that would place him already in the top 50 in the world as far as philanthropists are concerned. And that is a very significant donation.

So yes, I'm absolutely sure that you'll be seeing more and more of those big philanthropists coming out of China.

But you have to wait and be patient. Because many Chinese companies are still young and whilst they're earning money fast, you know, it's only when they've got a lot of money that they can make big donations.

JOHN TAYLOR: Mr Hoogewerf says its time the rich were given more credit for what they give, and also what they do.

RUPERT HOOGEWERF: I meant the rich-poor divide today is a problem and I think that something like charity is a very good way to improve the image of wealth. Because China needs entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are the people that are creating jobs and paying taxes. Without them, China will not be able to develop and that therefore a list such as our charity list is quite useful to improve the image of wealth.

HAMISH ROBERTSON: Rupert Hoogewerf, author of the 2006 China Philanthropy List, ending that report by our China Correspondent John Taylor.
 

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China's rich give back as philanthropy surges

HONG KONG, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Philanthropic donations in China are surging, as the country's nouveau riche expands with economic development, and should be boosted in the next few years by much-needed tax incentives, analysts say.

Donations from the top 50 publicly disclosed philanthropists in China have risen eight-fold in the past three years, totalling US$10.9 billion so far this year, according to investment bank UBS AG .

They are led by 85-year-old Yu Pengnian of Shenzhen-based trade and property group Pengnian Industries, who has donated US$260 million to health and higher education since 2003, according to the Beijing-based Hurun Report's league table.

Yu is followed by a younger crop of entrepreneurs headed by Zhu Mengyi of property developer Hopson Development , with donations totalling US$140 million in the past four years, and Niu Gensheng of Inner Mongolian milk producer Mengniu Group who has given away US$85 million, according to the Hurun Report.

Education is the biggest beneficiary of philanthropy followed by social welfare causes, healthcare and poverty alleviation.

Donations to charity are restricted to fewer than 20 charities approved by the government, says UBS.

Individuals, meanwhile, can offset just 2 percent of their salary against tax for charitable and philanthropic donations, although the government plans to increase that to 12 percent as soon as next year.

That's still low compared with a 25 percent tax exemption in Hong Kong and 20 percent in Taiwan, but it's a start and should trigger much higher contributions, analysts say.

Poor tax incentives and difficulty in establishing a charity in China have encouraged wealthy Chinese to establish foundations in neighbouring Hong Kong, where the number of registered charitable foundations has doubled in the past decade to 1,200, according to UBS.

"The Chinese government is trying to encourage people to make charitable donations but it also needs to define who can set up a charity much more clearly," said Calvin Lam, a tax partner at accountants Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

PHILANTHROPIC HUB

Under an overhaul of China's corporate tax system due to come into effect next year, companies will be able to deduct up to 10 percent of their profits from tax for charitable donations.

UBS expects environmental causes to become one of the four biggest beneficiaries of charitable donations in China in a few years.

"Philanthropists try to take care of poverty first. As the economy matures they look more at the environment," said Terry Farris, head of UBS' Asia-Pacific philanthropy services.

Beijing's tax incentives track a regional trend. Singapore is scrapping a rule that 80 percent of donations must be made locally, aiming to make the city state a philanthropic hub. Japan is due to relax rules next year to stem a slowdown in donations.

In a sign of Asia's growing clout, former U.S. President Bill Clinton will hold his annual philanthropic summit in Hong Kong next year.

China accounts for 21 percent of the wealth of Asia-Pacific's U.S. dollar millionaires, second to Japan which accounts for 44 percent, according to a report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini . China's millionaires -- 30 percent of whom are female -- mostly rely on business and stock options for their wealth, whereas inheritance and income are the main wealth sources of rich Japanese.

China is also home to nearly a third of Asia-Pacific's super rich, or those with more than US$30 million in assets, according to Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.
 

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Top philanthropists donate $1.8b in 5 years


By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-04-03 07:12


The country's top 100 philanthropists have given away 12.9 billion ($1.8 billion) since 2003, with education, social welfare and poverty reduction attracting the most donors, the Hurun Philanthropy List released Wednesday in Shanghai.

Twenty-seven donors each gave more than 100 million yuan this year, compared with 15 donors last year, stated the list, a ranking of the country's most generous individuals and into its fifth year.

Topping the list for the third year running is 86-year-old Yu Pengnian, a Shenzhen hotel and real estate entrepreneur, who has endowed his foundation with 3 billion yuan in the past five years to provide cataract operations.

Zhu Mengyi, also known as Chu Mang Yee, chairman of property developer Hopson Development Holdings Ltd, ranked second with a stock donation worth 1.1 billion yuan. Huang Rulun, chairman of the Jinyuan Hotel Group, came in third by giving away 850 million yuan since 2003.

Last year, the country's top 100 philanthropists had given 9.5 billion yuan in donations tracked since 2003, when Shanghai-based Hurun Report began compiling the list.

The report, which also compiles an annual list of the country's wealthiest people, found that 66 of the top 100 philanthropists also ranked in China's 100 wealthiest this year, up from 54 last year.

Yang Guoqiang, Xu Rongmao, Rong Zhijian and Xu Jiayin, who are among the top 10 richest people, also found themselves on the top 100 philanthropists list.

Hotelier Yu is the oldest donor on the list, while Ding Lei, chairman of Internet and online game company NetEase, and Xu Ming, chairman of chemical giant Shide Group, both aged 37, are the youngest philanthropists.

The average age of the philanthropists on the list is 52 this year. Five years ago, their average age was 48 years old.

Briton Rupert Hoogewerf, the founder and compiler of the Hurun Report, established the China Rich List with two students from Shanghai's Donghua University in 1999, publishing the first China Rich List in Forbes magazine.

"With a good policy environment including preferential policies in taxation and legislation, China saw further development in the charity cause last year," Hoogewerf said while releasing the report.

"More and more wealthy people are setting up their own charitable funds, and the whole of society have paid more attention to charity," said Hoogewerf, who is also a qualified chartered accountant. His list draws on a survey covering 2,500 entrepreneurs in the Chinese mainland. It also refers to news reports and data from various foundations.

The charity lists have created a favorable social environment for the development of the country's philanthropy sector, said Zheng Yuanchang, director with the social relief office of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

"The government also has a role in creating a social and taxation environment that promotes philanthropy," Zheng said.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs also plans to cooperate with several government departments to set up a national social donation information center, aimed at guaranteeing transparency in donations and their allocation, officials have said.

"Establishing such a system will not only encourage more people to be involved in social charity, but also enhance the reputation of China's philanthropy organizations," Zheng said.

Fairer regulations and faster administrative procedures must be ensured so that the rich do not face obstacles when giving away their money, he said.

Similarly, experts have asked for a better social and legal environment to promote giving by the wealthy, amid criticism that it often takes several months to seek a personal income tax deduction for donations.

Three-quarters of the money donated by the country's top 100 philanthropists were also channeled into foundations set up or monitored by the donors themselves, and experts have attributed the weak development of the sector to the lack of public confidence in various charity foundations.

Forbes last year also announced that it would cancel its China philanthropy list, "mainly due to the immaturity of the charity sector" and many rich people's "unwillingness to have their wealth disclosed and their names published".

Still, hotel entrepreneur Yu was one of the donors listed by Hurun that ran contrary to this view.

Yu, founder of Hong Kong Yu's Charitable Foundation and the Shenzhen Yu Pengnian Social Welfare Association, launched the nationwide Pengnian Brightness Action campaign in 2004, to provide free operations for up to 150,000 cataract sufferers in poor areas over a five-year period.

The campaign has reportedly provided free cataract surgery to more than 100,000 people so far.

Yu also recently directed his property projects in Shenzhen and Hong Kong towards his charities' causes.


http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-04...ent_6587869.htm



 

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Lottery buyers awarded for $4.9b public welfare contribution
(Xinhua)
Updated: 2008-04-27 14:53


BEIJING -- Chinese lottery players are awarded a special honor for their 34.4 billion yuan (about $4.9 billion) contribution for the public good last year, according to Sunday's Beijing News.

Chinese lottery buyers have made the greatest contribution to public welfare fund collection, exceeding the country's individual and enterprise donations, which stood at 22.3 billion yuan in total in 2007, according to China Association of Social Workers under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The association put the lottery buyers, together with 149 philanthropists and 325 enterprises, into its annual charity ranking list.

The 149 philanthropists and 325 enterprises, respectively donated 1.7 billion yuan and 5.5 billion yuan.

In 2007, China's lottery sales reached 101.7 billion, an increase of 18 billion yuan or 20 percent over 2006, setting a 20-year record in China's lottery history.

In China, a minimum of 35 percent of takings must go to the welfare sector. For a 2 yuan lottery ticket, 70 cents is spent on public welfare.

China had issued more than 460 billion yuan lottery tickets since it was launched in 1987, and lottery sales have contributed more than 150 billion yuan to public welfare fund.

Lottery ticket sales are one of the major sources of funds for building community sports facilities and financing the country's social welfare programs.


http://chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-04/27/content_6646494.htm
 

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Charity-minded billionaire gives not wisely, but too well

Updated: 2008-04-15 07:38
Jiang Huoxiang has devoted her billions to helping others, and now she faces financial troubles.

With only a primary school education, this hard-working 40-year-old from Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province, became a billionaire during the 1990s. And while her riches gave her comfort, they also helped her live her dream of helping others.

Her compassion was unlocked in 1995, when she adopted a little boy who had been abandoned at the gate of the city's children's hospital because he was seriously ill.

Over the years, Jiang has adopted 29 children ranging in age from several months to 10 years old. Among the children were orphans, disabled children who had been abandoned and children whose parents could not care for them because they were stricken by poverty.

Over the past 13 years, Jiang and her husband, Chen Guohua, have devoted most of their income to looking after their adopted children. At present, there are 16 children living in the couple's home.

"My financial situation is not so good now. Though I earn 5,000 yuan ($715) every month from an aquaculture experimental farm, it is also a hard job to feed 16 children," Jiang said.

Several recent accidents have complicated the task.

One of the children was injured and needed some 50,000 yuan worth of medical treatment, but Jiang had no money on hand to cover the fees.

She visited a local company to collect a debt of 300,000 yuan, which she was planning to use to help the child, but ended up quarrelling with the company's manager. He beat her, and Jiang suddenly found herself in hospital.

"I went to the company on April 1 and talked to Zhu, the deputy general manager, about getting 50,000 yuan of the debt they owed me so I could pay for my child's medical treatment, but the man did not want to pay and then attacked me," Jiang said from her hospital bed.

In his defense, Zhu said he only pushed Jiang and that his company has no money now to repay what it owes.

Doctors said Jiang is suffering from a lumber compression fracture and recommended she stay in hospital for medical treatment.

"I adopted the children because I want to help them and did not want anything in return. However, some people do not understand my actions," she said.

Local media have covered Jiang's story, but that only encouraged more children and poor people to come to her for help.

"I could not reject those who came for help and more people came, which meant I had to bear more pressure," Jiang said.

The many people who appealed to her kindness put a strain on her finances.

And not everyone agrees that her selflessness has always been reasonable.

Some people said she was a fool and just wanted to show off. And some have used this position as a pretext for not repaying the money they owe her.

Many others support Jiang and her charitable actions. Early this month, people in Hunan and Zhejiang provinces mailed her some money to help her out, which made Jiang happy.

"I did not want their money, but I felt happy that these people understood my situation," Jiang said.

Such shows of support have reaffirmed Jiang's resolve to face down her difficulties.

"I will continue to help the children no matter how hard it is, and I hope to build an orphanage to give the poor abandoned children a warm home," she said.

Wang Mingmei, director of the Sociology Research Institute at the Jiangxi provincial Academy of Social Sciences, said Jiang Huoxiang's efforts are commendable and deserve to be emulated.

"And we should also pay more attention to improving our social relief system. I would urge Jiang to go to the local government for help when her charitable giving starts to create problems," Wang said.

China Daily

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2008-04/15/content_6616488.htm
 

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Billionaire wishes to donate wealth

2009-02-20


If at the age of 14, when he dropped out of school because his farmer father could not afford his education, someone told Cao Dewang that he would one day be one of China's richest men, he probably would have laughed it off as a joke.

Donating billions of yuan to charity wasn't even a thought to comprehend. But then, he didn't know what destiny had in store.

Ranked by Forbes the 53rd richest man in China in 2008, the business tycoon from Fujian province, whose Fuyao group manufactures windshields for world-renowned carmakers like Volvo, Audi and Bentley, has decided to give away 70 percent of his shares in the firm to charity.

The shares amount to a staggering 4 billion yuan ($585 million).

"I have decided to set up a charity fund, named after my father, He Ren, for which I will donate 70 percent of my shares in the Fuyao group," Cao was quoted as saying in the Beijing Morning Post yesterday.

He said the charity fund would aim to cover "educational programs, disaster and poverty relief, and religion", the report said.

It the authorities give Cao's proposal a green light, the 63-year-old will become the country's most charitable person, surpassing fellow entrepreneur Yu Pengnian.

Cao said he will submit a formal application to the authorities next month, and expected the charity fund to be established by the end of this year.

Before Cao joined the Fuyao group (formerly known as Fuqing Gaoshan Glass) in 1983, after winning the contract to run the company, he worked as a herdsman and tobacco seller. By 1993, Fuyao had taken up 40 percent of China's market share.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs recently bestowed Cao with the title of one of "China's Top 10 Charitable Persons". So far, he has donated 200 million yuan to various charities, including 20 million yuan for the May 12 earthquake disaster relief last year.

Cao said that to ensure the stability of Fuyao shares, "the amount of operational shares is about 10 percent of its total sum".

In a Sina.com Internet poll, in which 21,416 people participated, 84 percent said successful entrepreneurs should give something back to society in charity. More than 96 percent hailed Cao for his charitable acts.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-02/20/content_7494764.htm
 
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