Private business owners, big donators

By Tu Lei (
Updated: 2007-06-19 13:59

As his company's assets surged over the past 20 years, so did Gao Xiang's charitable donations.

Gao is chairman of the board of Shentai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, a privately-run company in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, with assets that have increased from 3,000 yuan to 400 million yuan in 20 years. Over the time, the company has made 36 million yuan' worth of charitable donations, equaling more than 8 percent of its total assets.

In May 2005, the company's donations towards the establishment of three Project Hope Primary Schools helped provide educations for 500 children. In July of that year, he also sponsored the "Gaoxiang Vision Aid Fund" to assist more than 200 people suffering from cataracts.

During the 2003 SARS outbreak, Shentai donated 13 million yuan' worth of medicines to the affected areas, including Beijing, Tianjin Municipality, and North China's Hebei Province and Shanxi Province.

In 1998, Shentai donated 500,000 yuan' worth of medicine to affected areas of Heilongjiang Province, where the Songhua River had flooded, though the company was facing a capital shortage at the time.

Gao continued the company's charitable efforts in 2006, when he embarked on effort to build medicine distribution networks to lower pharmaceutical costs for rural residents.

Gao Xiang is not alone in his efforts, as more privately-run companies in China are participating in charitable giving.

Under the direction of board chairman Qiu Dedao, Hangzhou Daoyuan Chemical Fiber Group Corporation, a privately-owned company, donated 100 million yuan to help leukemia patients in East China's Zhejiang Province in September 2006.

Wang Zhentao, president of Aokang Group, the largest domestic privately-run shoe manufacturer, set up a charity fund to help university students in June 2007. His company has dominated 90 million yuan since 1993.

In 2006, Geely Group gave 50 million yuan to the China Education Development Foundation in 2006, to help freshmen finish four years of study.

Geely Group has invested more than 1 billion yuan in education, and according to the 2007 Hurun Report's Chinese Philanthropists List, board chairman Li Shufu ranked seventh on the list, with 278 million yuan in donations.

Out of 50 enterprises listed on the 2007 Hurun Report's Corporate Social Responsibility Rank, 16 were privately-run, including Huawei, Midea Group and China Minsheng Banking Co Ltd.

Statistics from the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce showed that privately-run enterprises have played an important role in social charity.

By the end of 2006, nearly 20,000 private enterprises were participating in the China Guangcai Program, which was founded by private entrepreneurs looking to alleviate poverty in response to the governmental Eighth Seven-Year Anti-Poverty Plan. In the past five years, the program has received more than 15 billion yuan in donations.

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