China´s rich have often been blamed for spending less on charity compared to their compatriots in other countries. But slowly, things are changing, says Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun China Rich list in the Guardian. “Philanthropy is becoming more sophisticated now,” said Hoogewerf. “The main cause they give to is education.”
The life stories of almost all of the country’s elite involve rags-to-riches journeys and fortunes born after China emerged from decades of experimentation with radical communist ideas that left a country mired in extreme poverty.
“There are more self-made millionaires and billionaires in China than anywhere else,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, publisher of the Hurun Report, a monthly magazinewhich charts the fortunes of the country’s super-elite. “Pretty much everyone in mainland China is self made, and that includes 95% of the Hurun rich list.”
After years of deprivation, China’s first cohort of businessmen and women relish both spending their wealth and putting it on display. One tycoon built himself a home modelled on the White House, with a view of “Mount Rushmore”; more recently a billionaire’s son posted online a picture of his dog wearing a gold Apple Watch on each of its front paws….
In recent years China’s entrepreneurs have moved beyond the ostentation that marked some of the earliest ventures and are giving more thought to where their donations go. “Philanthropy is becoming more sophisticated now,” said Hoogewerf. “The main cause they give to is education.”
There may also be less charitable motives behind some public displays of benevolence, as tycoons spooked by a wide-ranging government crackdown on corruption look for less controversial ways to show off their wealth.