China / News from across China

Charity program launched to boost online philanthropy

By Luo Wangshu ( Updated: 2016-04-07 16:40

A charity alliance program was launched by Internet retail giant Alibaba in Beijing on Wednesday to promote online philanthropy.

The program will tie together online stores, customers, charitable foundations and a third party inspection agency in a bid to help those in need.

"Our aim is to affect people's philanthropy behaviors and not be limited to merely encouraging them to donate more money, as even when they donate a few cents, it means something," said Jin Jianhang, president of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

To guarantee the quality of charity projects, three reputable foundations eligible for public fundraising, including the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, have been asked to review project applications.

Foundations involved in the program include the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and China Charities Aid Foundation for Children.

"There are many charity projects and the foundations could help us to select the best ones," said Jin.

Last year, 270 million netizens helped to raise around 190 million yuan through 3 billion separate acts of charity on Alibaba's online platforms. Each user of Alibaba's online marketplace Taobao donated 0.06 yuan ($0.01) on average, helping nearly 2 million people in need.

"The amount of the donations does not matter. What matters is moving from zero donations to some," said Liu Wenkui, secretary-general of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation.

On Alibaba's online platforms, store owners can label products as "charity items". If a customer buys one of these, a small amount of the payment is donated to the store's chosen charity project. Alibaba has more than 2 billion online stores engaged in such charity programs, selling more than 200 million charity items. In 2015, more than 1.5 million sellers made donations.

"Philanthropy is not yet part of Chinese people's daily regular behavior. Thus we want to take advantage of Alibaba's platform and attempt to create a more convenient way of encouraging charity engagement. The value of Alibaba's charity programs is that they awaken more people's awareness and spur them to action," said Jin.

According to the 2015 Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index, Chinese people are some of the most reluctant in the world to donate money to charities or volunteer to help. The survey ranked China next from last on a list of 145 countries and regions, only above Burundi.

Last month, China passed the nation's first charity law in a bid to promote philanthropy.

The new law, which will come into force in September, eases restrictions on the fundraising and operational activities of charity groups, tightens supervision of their internal management and promises tax benefits for the sector.

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