At the same time, the Chinese public is becoming increasingly concerned about inequality. In a speech in October, President Xi Jinping said the country’s development was “unbalanced” and “common prosperity” should be the ultimate goal. “It’s likely much more than coincidence that China’s tech billionaires have begun to evince a strong charitable urge,” said Brock Silvers, chief investment officer at Hong Kong-based private equity firm Kaiyuan Capital. “It could stem from deep patriotic feelings or Buddhist inclinations, but it appears to be strongly correlated to Beijing’s recent regulatory crackdowns.”
In June, Meituan founder Wang donated a $2.3 billion stake in the food delivery giant to his own philanthropic foundation. That came after China’s antitrust watchdog announced an investigation into the company, and the billionaire posted a classical poem online that some saw as a veiled criticism of Beijing. That same month, ByteDance founder Zhang, China’s fourth-richest person with a net worth of $44.5 billion, gave about $77 million of his own wealth to an education fund in his hometown. And in April, Tencent’s Pony Ma, the second-richest with $56.7 billion, pledged to set aside $7.7 billion of the company’s money toward curing societal ills and lifting China’s countryside out of poverty.
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