Donations from the top 100 philanthropists in Mainland China rose from US$1.3 billion in 2010 to US$4.6 billion last year, according to a report by UBS Wealth Management and Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government.
The study, called “Values and Vision: Perspectives on Philanthropy in 21st Century China”, which is based on interviews with wealth holders, experts and staff from several Chinese foundations, revealed that 46 of the 200 wealthiest individuals in China have set up foundations.
Two-thirds of the individuals interviewed for the study have established or plan to establish a foundation.
Technology was cited as a major driver of philanthropic activities in China, as it facilitates engagement, the study says, adding that the growing number of academic-based research centres and awards dedicated to philanthropy have also helped develop the country’s philanthropic ecosystem.
For example, Aiyo Foundation will partner with Sequoia Capital and CDH Investments, two of the country’s major venture capital firms, to set up a venture capital unit focused on impact investing. The partnership plans to invest in five to seven philanthropy-related companies, a press briefing hosted by UBS revealed today.
China’s philanthropic sector still suffers from a lack of transparency and accountability and this has dented confidence and trust in charitable organisations and institutions.
Aiyo Foundation founder Wang Bing said that the biggest challenge for the foundation and the industry is gaining trust. He said that annual reports and regular briefings are essential to building trust and transparency.
Wang added that China’s new Charity Law, implemented last year, resulted in a cap on administrative costs and a limit on the salaries of employees. This has made it more difficult to attract talent and harder for existing employees to sustain themselves in Beijing.