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Tech companies donate funds, medical supplies and equipment

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-31 07:33
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Employees make protective facial masks at a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. [Photo by Niu Jing/For China Daily]

Chinese tech companies have donated nearly 3 billion yuan ($432.5 million) and provided medical supplies and equipment to help fight the outbreak of novel coronavirus-related pneumonia in Central China's Hubei province.

Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has donated 100 million yuan through his charitable foundation to help find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The billionaire has earmarked 40 million yuan for the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the remainder of the funds will be used to support prevention and treatment measures.

"We know that the battle between humanity and disease is a long journey, and more patience, accumulation, confidence and hope are needed," the foundation said in a statement, adding the money will help medical research efforts and disease prevention.

Moreover, Alibaba will offer free artificial intelligence computing power to scientific research organizations to support the search for vaccines and drugs.

The donation follows an announcement on Sunday by Alibaba that it has set up a special fund of 1 billion yuan for medical supplies. The fund will be used to purchase medical equipment and medicine from home and abroad, and delivered to Wuhan, Hubei province, where the outbreak is most severe.

The company will continue to coordinate with plants in 58 regions in the country to resume the production of medical supplies. The first batch of 3.3 million masks will be sent to Wuhan through three "green passages".

The Tencent Charity Foundation announced a donation of 300 million yuan to set up the first phase of a new pneumonia prevention and control fund. The donation will be mainly used for front-line prevention of the disease in Wuhan and other places, including the purchase of materials such as masks, disinfectants, goggles, and help for front-line medical staff.

Sun Yi, deputy secretary-general of the foundation, said Tencent will combine its own capacities in products, technology and internet platforms to provide more assistance to the public, especially those in the hardest hit areas.

Charity projects have also been set up on its platform for people to make donations. Tencent will continue paying close attention to the development of the outbreak, expediting the delivery of materials and ensuring that funds are distributed quickly and effectively.

Internet search giant Baidu Inc announced it has established a special fund of 300 million yuan for disease prevention and public health security.

The fund will be used to support the selection, research and development of drugs targeting the novel coronavirus and a string of works to fight the outbreak, as well as popularize and disseminate health security information for the long term.

Baidu App has launched free online medical consultation services, while Baidu Map offers information on urban mobility, road closures, and locations of fever clinics in more than 200 cities across the nation.

Security software provider 360 Security Group donated 15 million yuan worth of medical supplies to Wuhan, Hubei province, to ensure the safety of front-line disease prevention staff and support rescue efforts.

"360 can only detect and kill network computer viruses, but can do nothing against biological viruses. However, we can't stand by and do nothing in the face of natural disasters," said Chairman and CEO of 360 Security Group Zhou Hongyi, who was born in Huanggang, Hubei province.

Zhou said at present, it is difficult to buy masks, protective clothing and goggles. "We hope that people who have the sources of goods can provide related information. We will continue to buy and send them to Hubei province."

The company said the first batch of donated materials including 1 million medical masks and 200,000 pairs of medical gloves arrived in Wuhan on Monday. The follow-up donated materials, including 2 million medical masks purchased through international channels including Japan and South Korea, will be shipped to Huanggang and more than 10 other cities as soon as possible.

Home appliances giant TCL donated 10 million yuan and offered LCD display equipment, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators to two makeshift hospitals in Wuhan.

TCL-owned China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co Ltd, a leading TV panel supplier, has a sixth-generation flexible display panel production line in Wuhan. "We have given top priority to the health and safety of our staff since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus," said Li Dongsheng, TCL founder and chairman.

Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, said the donations from major tech enterprises embody their social responsibilities and have positive social impact, as the novel coronavirus spreads throughout the country and concerns everyone.

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