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China’s Tencent may double its charity contribution to 2pc of annual profit

Tencent chief executive Pony Ma Huateng said on Friday said that the company may double its contribution towards the Tencent Foundation, the company’s charity organisation, to 2 per cent of its annual profit each year.

China’s internet giant Tencent, which also runs one of the country’s most popular mobile messaging apps WeChat, last year reported a net profit of about 28.8 billion yuan. This means that Tencent had set aside at least 288 million for its charitable efforts, and the figure may double in the near future.

The Tencent Foundation, which was first established in 2007, operates one of the largest public donation platforms in China. Over 1.1 billion yuan in donations from 76 million donations were made through Tencent Foundation’s platforms as of the end of August, according to the company.

“Our platform’s aim is to match thousands of charitable organisations with millions of users. Lots of our users want to donate, but their biggest dilemma is that they don’t know which organisation to donate to. So this platform is able to help solve this problem. Users can choose which causes they want to donate to,” Ma said.

He added that such a platform means that users can make recurring donations, instead of a one-off contribution.

“The amount of charitable donations in China has grown from 10 billion yuan in 2006 to over 100 billion yuan last year – it has grown very quickly,” said Ma.

He attributed the tenfold growth in donations to the burgeoning use of technology and mobile internet over the last three years, which has helped users better contribute to philanthropic causes.

“Mobile phones and technology, when combined with philanthropic causes, help solve a lot of transparency and efficiency issues,” Ma said.

He pointed out that currently almost 90 per cent of the contributions made via the Tencent Foundation have been done on mobile phones, as compared to 90 per cent of donations through PCs three years ago.

“Of that 90 per cent [of donations via mobile phone], 80 per cent were made through a social network. This means that donating money via technology has become mainstream in China.”

In April, Ma donated 100 million of his Tencent shares, estimated to be worth 1.39 billion yuan, to a charity fund that supports healthcare, education, environmental protection and other efforts in mainland China. In June, he was also named the most generous philanthropist in the ethnic Chinese world, having donated US$2.15 billion in a year.

Since 2015, the company has also launched its 9.9 Philanthropy Day in September, dedicated to encouraging users to make contributions towards charitable causes. Tencent also matches the donations raised by users over three days from September 7-9.