CHINA'S MOST GENEROUS


The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation List of China’s Top Philanthropists in 2016

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2016 Overview


This original database features top philanthropic donations by individuals, private organizations, and public organizations in Mainland China during the 2016 calendar year. Through the visualization of data in charts and graphs, our research studies the geography of China-based giving and receiving, the range of causes supported, and the industries represented by this giving. We also highlight levels of individual generosity, which measures giving as a percentage of an individual’s publicly disclosed net worth.

Key Findings


  • Evergrande Group tops our Composite List of top Chinese individual, corporate, and organizational donors with $151 million in total donations.

  • Hu Baosen, chairman of Central China Real Estate Ltd., tops our Generosity Index ranking with an index of 4.55%.

  • Chen Tianqiao, founder and board president of Shanda Group, tops our Top 100 Individuals List in absolute giving with $115 million in total donations.

  • Among the top 100 donors (including ties) in the Composite List, 34 are individuals, 66 are private corporations, 13 are or individual/corporate foundations, and 6 are state-owned enterprises.

  • Our 2015 data showed that China’s top 100 individual philanthropists gave 60% of their total donations to their home provinces that year. In 2016, our top 100 donors gave 50% of their total donations to their home provinces.

  • In 2016, poor provinces that ranked low in both total GDP and GDP per capita, such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Gansu, Yunnan and Guizhou, received 12% of the total donations from the top 100 donors in our hybrid ranking, which is a significant increase from 2015.

  • As in 2015, education continues to be the biggest beneficiary of Chinese elite philanthropy in 2016, while environmental protection remains at the bottom of our list of causes.

  • Among the top 100 donors in our Composite List, 38 hail from the real estate sector.

  • Among the top 100 donors in our Composite List, the mean donation amount is ¥92.11 million ($14.17 million) and the median is¥40 million ($6.15 million).

  • According to available data, the average age of our 2016 top 100 individual donors is 53 years.

  • Only 13 of the top 100 donors in our Composite List are private or corporate foundations. The rate of professionalization among Chinese elite donors remains low.

Top 10 - Generosity


1

Hu Baosen

¥100 Million
2

Chen Tianqiao

¥747.5 Million
3

Han Guolong

¥202 Million
4

Cao Dewang

¥250 Million
5

Hoi Kin Hong

¥100 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 2.0%
  • Focus Causes: Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
6

Wu Shaoxun

¥114 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 1.52%
  • Focus Causes: Unspecified, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
7

Liu Guoyao, Hu Ximei

¥30 Million
8

Yang Guoqiang, Yang Huiyan

¥500 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 1.03%
  • Focus Causes: Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
9

Li Congwen

¥15 Million
10

Liu Yichuan, Li Shunyi

¥10 Million

Top 10 - Giving


1

Evergrande Group

¥1054 Million
  • View profile
  • Focus Causes: Education, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
2

Chen Tianqiao

¥747.5 Million
3

China Three Gorges Corporation

¥570.4 Million
  • View profile
  • Focus Causes: Disaster Relief, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
4

Yang Guoqiang, Yang Huiyan

¥500 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 1.03%
  • Focus Causes: Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
5

Oceanwide Holdings Group

¥393.18 Million
6

Cao Dewang

¥250 Million
7

Tahoe Group

¥240 Million
8

Guoqiang Public Welfare Foundation of Guangdong Province

¥224 Million
  • View profile
  • Focus Causes: Unspecified, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
9

Heren Philanthropic Foundation

¥219.5 Million
  • View profile
  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation
10

Da Bei Nong Public Welfare Fund

¥212.6 Million

Guangdong – Land of Giving


In 2016, the southern province of Guangdong continues to be the land of giving in China. Home to 30 of our top 100 donors, Guangdong serves as the source of about ¥3.0 billion in donations, remaining China’s most generous region in terms of absolute giving and number of donors. Evergrande Group, headquartered in Guangdong, tops our hybrid ranking with $151 million in total donations.

Real Estate Gives


China’s booming real estate industry continues to produce the largest number of top Chinese philanthropists. Nearly a third of the top 100 donors in 2016 come from the Real Estate industry, followed by Manufacturing (19), Finance (17) and Internet & Communications Technology (13).

Education Takes


Education causes continue to receive the lion’s share of 2016 top donations, with 73 donors making contributions in this area. Social Welfare/Poverty Alleviation is the second most attractive cause area (38 donors), followed by Public Health (8 donors) and Culture (7 donors). Environmental causes still receive little attention, with only 2 donors focusing on this cause area.

Government Takes the Lead


Though high-profile scandals have eroded trust in government-backed charities, they continue to play a dominant role. Around half of the donors (62) donate to government or state-affiliated charities, followed by universities or university foundations (60).

China Philanthropy Insight Series


Our new “China Philanthropy Insight Series” seeks to highlight original research, timely news stories, innovative cases, and occasional interviews about Chinese philanthropy.

Gender Inequality


China’s top individual philanthropists are still overwhelmingly male in 2016. Among the 125 donors in the “Individuals - Total Giving” list, we have identified the gender of 109 individual philanthropists. Among them, only ten, or 9.2%, are women.






99 male philanthropists


10 female philanthropists


3 couples


10 unknown

About the Project


The rise of private wealth is one of the most important developments in modern China, with implications for the country’s social, economic, and political arenas. How individuals choose to deploy such resources will shape the relationships between the individual and the state, between the state and business, and between the state and the social sector.

This project aims to strengthen understanding of China’s philanthropic landscape by analyzing the makeup and choices of China’s most generous individuals. We hope the introduction of a metric on level of generosity, while imperfect, will add a new dimension to the discussion on how China’s wealthy choose to support charitable causes. We welcome comments and suggestions on our analysis and methodology through the email address listed below. The findings compile data from a variety of sources including media reports, company websites, corporate filings and trade journals. When possible we have further verified the data by directly contacting the philanthropist or the recipient of the gift.

We believe that an independent, verified, and research-oriented database on China's philanthropic giving will enable much-needed quantitative research on the sector and provide a crucial resource for government, academic, media, and non-profit organizations.

We will supplement the database with a range of case studies, white papers, academic articles, and interviews with leading philanthropists and leaders of philanthropic organizations.

This website will be updated annually.

About the Team


Tony Saich – Ash Center Director. Tony directs a range of programs at the Harvard Kennedy School and teaches courses on comparative political institutions, democratic governance, and transitional economies with a focus on China. A former Chief Representative of the Ford Foundation in China, he also teaches and researches topics related to the development of China’s civil society and philanthropic sector.

Yifu Dong – Research Assistant. Yifu writes the blog posts on current and historical issues in Chinese philanthropy. He received a B.A. in History from Yale University. Yifu’s work has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Times, The New York Times (Chinese edition), and Caixin.

Qunchao Fu – Research Assistant. Qunchao works on data cleaning and data visualization. He was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University and is now a Ph.D. student at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

David Li - China Programs Research Associate. David manages the operations of the project's various pillars - methodology, data collection via internet search and web crawler, website design, and data visualizations. David received his M.A. in International Development from Johns Hopkins SAIS and was a teacher with Teach For China.

Yunxin Li – Research Data Analyst. Yunxin is responsible for collecting and analyzing Chinese Donation data in this project. She is an MSBA graduate at Bentley University with prior work experience in Data Analysis and Visualization. She was an undergraduate student at Beijing Normal University.

John McKenna - Research Assistant. A Boston native, John collected and analyzed US philanthropic data from a range of sources for comparison with the project’s data on Chinese giving. John is a Bentley University MBA graduate with a concentration in Business Analytics.

Qi Tan—Research Fellow. Qi researches the history of Chinese philanthropy, putting current policies in a historical context. Qi has extensive experience in China’s rule of law issues in the area of public interests lawyering, open government information, public participation, and disability rights and advocacy.

Xueshan Zhang - Research Assistant. Xueshan spearheaded our project's data methodology, automated search and extraction design and execution, and verification process. Previously, she was a data scientist at Microsoft and has a M.S. in Computational Science and Engineering from Harvard.

Edward Cunningham - Ash Center China Programs Director. Edward teaches and conducts research related to China's business/government relations, energy markets and governance, international economics and competitiveness, and China’s integration into the world. Most recently he has engaged in work on the rise of Chinese private wealth and philanthropic development.

Haiyang Feng – Research Assistant. Haiyang assists Professor Xu in creating data labeling standards and incorporating manual search standards into the web crawler. He is currently a doctoral student at the Beijing Normal University Social Development and Public Policy School, researching mass media and public policy.

Yi Ji – Research Assistant. Yi works on the manual labeling of data, determining rules for machine learning and high frequency vocabulary composition. She studied at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and is currently a Masters in Management student at Beijing Normal University.

Lingyun Li – Research Assistant. Lingyun helps with running the web crawler as well as data extraction and data cleaning. She is currently a graduate student at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, researching textual categories and information extraction for Chinese natural language processing and Chinese language sentiment analysis.


Yiru Liu - Research Assistant. Yiru involved in collecting manual data on this project and analyzed Chinese data with US data. She was an undergraduate student at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and obtained an Master’s degree from Boston University in Economics.

Yawei Sun – Research Assistant. Yawei is responsible for extracting donation entity names and Chinese language semantic labeling. He is a graduate student at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, studying textual categories, information extraction, and semantic labeling.

Xiaoxin Xu – Research Coordinator. Xiaoxin maps out strategies for data analysis, integrates knowledge on data and philanthropy, and coordinates the data science and the social science teams. He is an assistant professor at the Beijing Normal University School of Social Development & Public Policy.

Bo Zhao - Technical Advisor. Bo collected data by setting up and running our web crawler, which conducted automated searches for relevant donation news. He also provided advice on data geovisualization. Bo is an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.