Billionaire Bill Gates has tried in vain to engage his Chinese counterparts to spend more on charity. China Rich List founder Rupert Hoogewerf explains in Knowledge CKGSB why China´s wealthy give no priority to philanthropy.
Beyond the numbers, the reputation of China’s elite as being tightfisted when it comes to philanthropy was solidified in 2010 after media reports that many had turned down invitations to a dinner in Beijing hosted by Gates and Warren Buffet that was intended to raise awareness about philanthropy. Gates later said that twothirds of invitees attended the event.
Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, says that for the wealthy, charity is “low down on the priorities”. “They feel that… the best way they can give back to society is to grow a strong, healthy business.” …
The system also doesn’t help incentivize philanthropy, says Hoogewerf. He points to the absence of US style inheritance taxes, from which gifts to charity are usually exempt, as a further reason why the wealthy don’t donate as much as they could.
The desire of many of China’s wealthy to keep a low profile, so as not to draw attention to their riches and the scrutiny it would inevitably bring, also works against significant philanthropic gestures. And when big gestures are made, they are often dismissed as publicity stunts rather than true philanthropy, as has been the case with Chen Guangbiao, an entrepreneur who made his money in the recycling business.
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