Elsewhere online
December 04, 2014

Opinion: 2014 a Turning Point for Chinese Philanthropy

A fast-growing class of wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs is poised to embrace large-scale, Western-style giving, real-estate magnate Zhang Xin writes in a New York Times column. Ms. Zhang, chief executive of property firm SOHO China, and her husband and business partner, Pan Shiyi, pledged $100-million in July to fund scholarships for Chinese students to attend elite universities abroad.

She also notes major philanthropic efforts this year by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma and the family of Hong Kong property mogul Ronnie Chan. Ms. Zhang says such giving is the fruit of China's rapid economic growth and the exposure of many in her generation to Western higher education and philanthropy in the form of financial aid.

"I believe we are on the cusp of change," she writes. "With a new generation of Chinese who feel grateful for the opportunities the country's growth has provided, social consciousness is rising, contributing to a growing urge to give back in innovative ways and to contribute to the nation’s future and to the betterment of our society."