Tencent donates big to charity
PonyMa says that mobile tech and social networks enable everyone to participate
Pony Ma, chief executive officer and a co-founder of Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, pledged to donate 1 to 2 percent of the company’s annual profit to charity and make donations part of people’s daily lives via the internet and other technologies.
Ma said at a recent forum in Hong Kong that the five founders of Tencent had wondered how to leverage the influence of the company’s large number of users and the wealth it creates to do more for society when the company shifted from the phase of survival to development, about six or seven years after it was started.
“Between 2006 to 2007, we started to consider setting up China’s first internet charitable foundation. And, we made a rule to donate about 1 percent of Tencent’s annual profit to charity every year,” he said, adding the company has donated about 1 percent to 2 percent of its annual profit to charity and will keep doing so in the future.
According to the Hong Kong-listed Tencent’s financial report, the company’s net profit in 2015 was 32.41 billion yuan ($4.86 billion), a rise of 30 percent year-on-year.
China’s self-made tech billionaires have in recent years topped the nation’s philanthropist list. Ma and Tencent co-founder Chen Yidan were named in a report by the Hurun Research Institute in June as the nation’s top two givers in the past year.
Apart from donating money, Ma said it was more important to leverage the influence of the company’s platform. The Tencent Foundation has built up a very active charity platform with a goal to connect thousands of charitable organizations, projects and NGOs with the company’s hundreds of millions of users.
“Ourinternet-basedplatform is the answer to making donations transparentandit enables each individual to donate to the project he or she is interested in. Rather than making a oneoff donation, people can choose to donate a certain amount every month,” saidMa, who is a firm believer that Tencent’s experience in making internet products can also be applied in the world of philanthropy.
He pointed out that, because of China’s large population of smartphone users, the country has taken the lead in terms of connecting charitable projects with donators via mobile internet. About 90 percent of donations on Tencent’s charitable platform are made by smartphones and 80 percent of the donations are made with the help of people spreading word of the project on their social networks.
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