The billionaire co-founder of Alibaba.com has set up charitable trusts ahead of the company’s highly anticipated IPO, a move that could mark the start of a new era of Chinese philanthropy.
Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, along with current CEO Joe Tsai, said Friday that they have established two trusts funded by share options worth about 2% of the company. The philanthropic effort will initially benefit environmental, medical, education and cultural causes in China, according to a statement.
Ma said he established the trusts because “concern and complaints cannot change the current situation. … We must assume responsibility and take action to improve the environment that our children will inherit,” he said.
The establishment of the trusts makes Ma one of China’s first billionaires to set up a major philanthropic endeavor, and puts him in the ranks other successful executives who have pledged large portions of the fortunes to charity. Three of those — Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — praised Ma’s decision.