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Right for companies to pay attention to social justice and poverty relief

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-05 07:40

ALIBABA, China's e-commerce giant, said it will invest 10 billion yuan ($1.51 billion) for poverty alleviation over the next five years. commented on Monday:

Some people say that poverty alleviation should not be an enterprise's business or responsibility. But quite a few enterprises engage in poverty relief.

Statistics from the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce show 26,500 companies spent a total of 46.55 billion yuan last year helping 3.89 million people living in poverty.

There are no contradictions between making money and undertaking corporate social responsibility projects to help the poor. Charity activities help companies to promote their products and services in the market.

Alibaba is making efforts to expand its e-commerce services, platforms and logistics to some remote rural areas to help local inhabitants sell their agricultural products online. This will require it to make huge inputs at first. But if successful, Alibaba will make money. It is a win-win initiative.

But what Alibaba did not mention is its rural development plan relies heavily on the government making huge infrastructure investments to build roads and expand internet access.

China has pledged to eliminate rural poverty by 2020. The previously poor villagers will thus become newcomers in the e-commerce market after they bid farewell to poverty. It is clear that Alibaba has started cultivating not only its customers but also e-commerce consumers through its "poverty relief" efforts.

Thus, it is too naive to worry that Alibaba distract attention from its proper business to poverty relief. What it will do is, try to kill multiple birds with one stone.

Despite this, its strategy will provide valuable opportunities to the farmers, and it is almost predictable that more companies will follow suit and expand to the poverty-stricken rural areas. And their involvement in poverty alleviation is indispensable to realize the government's zero-poverty objective by 2020.


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