The Ash Center List of China’s Top Philanthropists

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This annually updated original database features top philanthropic donations by individuals and organizations in Mainland China. Through the visualization of data in charts and graphs, our research tracks 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. Given reporting lags by many foundations and government, the data below are the most recent available and cover the 2019 calendar year.

$5.74 Billion

Top 100 Individuals Donation: $0.73 Billion

Top 100 Organizations Donation: $2.93 Billion

34.69% of Total National Giving

Top 10 - Giving


China Three Gorges Corporation

¥2609.21 Million
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  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief, Poverty Alleviation, Unspecified, Public Health

Evergrande Group

¥1795.06 Million
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  • Focus Causes: Education, Poverty Alleviation, Unspecified

Country Garden Holdings Co.,Ltd

¥1294.27 Million
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  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief, Social Welfare, Poverty Alleviation, Unspecified

Hailiang Group

¥1016.65 Million

Dali Foods Group

¥1010 Million

Tencent Holdings Limited

¥1005.77 Million
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  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief, Social Welfare, Poverty Alleviation, Culture and Sports, Unspecified, Public Health, Unrestricted

Bao Zhengliang

¥961.92 Million

Zhongde (China) Environment Protection Co., Ltd.

¥500 Million

Wanda Group Co.,Ltd

¥437.73 Million
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  • Focus Causes: Education, Poverty Alleviation, Unspecified

China Vanke Co.,Ltd.

¥417.6 Million
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  • Focus Causes: Education, Poverty Alleviation, Unspecified, Unrestricted

Top 10 - Generosity


Ma Xu

¥7 Million
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  • Generosity Index: 70.0%
  • Focus Causes: Culture and Sports

Bao Zhengliang

¥961.92 Million

Junlong Gong

¥360 Million

Xu Busheng

¥100 Million

Tang Lixin

¥135.46 Million

Cao Dewang

¥100 Million

Xu Shaochun

¥45 Million

Yao Ming

¥13 Million

Che Hongli

¥10.85 Million

Dang Yanbao

¥301.76 Million

Guangdong – Center of Giving

In 2019, the southern province of Guangdong continued to be the land of giving in China. Home to 26 of our top 100 donors, Guangdong served as the source of about $1.16 billion in donations, remaining China’s most generous region in terms of absolute giving and number of donors. Evergrande Group, headquartered in Guangdong, listed second in our composite ranking with $260.28 million in total donations.

Real Estate Gives

China’s booming real estate industry continued to produce the largest number of top Chinese philanthropists. Nearly 40% (38) of the top 100 donors in 2019 came from the Real Estate industry, followed by Healthcare (11) and Consumer (10).

Foundations Take

In 2019, 68 of the top 100 donors donated to charitable foundations. Their donation went to Government Charitable Foundations (65) and Non-Government Charitable Foundations (150).

Education Leads

Education causes continued to receive the lion’s share of 2019 top donations, with 67 donors making contributions in this area. Poverty Alleviation was the second most attractive sector (38 donors), followed by Public Health (25 donors).

Environment Lags

In 2019, Environmental causes still received little attention (3 donors), a decrease from 2018 (4 donors), and from 2017 (8 donors).

Gender Inequality

China’s top individual philanthropists are still overwhelmingly male. Among the 100 donors in the “Individuals - Total Giving” list, only 6 are women. However, based on generosity, an elderly female soldier named Ma Xu donated 70% of her life savings, topping the list.

75 male philanthropists

6 female philanthropists

8 families

Rise of Non-Government Foundations

In 2019, Non-Government Charitable Foundations attracted the most donors. More than half of the top donors (62) donated to Non-Government Charitable Foundations. Universities or University Foundations (52) and Government or Government Charitable Foundations (52) both ranked second.

Localization Declines

In 2019, around a third of the top 100 donors (38) only donated to their own provinces, equal to our 2018 record (38) and slightly lower than 2017 record (44).

China Philanthropy By The Numbers

In 2019, total donations from China’s top 100 donors increased year-over-year by $1.09 billion. We identified important changes – and important continuities – in the top organizations giving, the top causes supported, and the top recipients.

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.

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, government databases, foundation annual reports, university websites and so on. 

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.

Yunxin Li – Research Data Analyst. Yunxin is in charge of the data team and responsible for our project's data validation, analysis, and visualization. She develops the project plans, manages the project operation and oversees the overall project workflow. Yunxin received her M.S. in Business Analytics from Bentley University and a B.A. in Business Administration from Beijing Normal University.

Zhi Zheng - Research Assistant. Zhi Zheng is responsible for collecting and analyzing Chinese donation data, especially in individual donors’ aspects. He also helps with creating the new data visualization in this project. Zhi Zheng has a Master of Architecture in Urban Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He received his B.S. in Architecture from Zhejiang University. 

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.

Xiaoping Wu – Research Assistant. Xiaoping is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and validating the overall Chinese donation data in this project. She also helps in integrating knowledge for the following qualitative research in Chinese philanthropy. Xiaoping holds a Master of Arts in the Social Sciences at The University of Chicago. She received her B.S. in Economic Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

Zhengyun Zhu - Research Assistant. Zhengyun Zhu participated in the Chinese and US donation data analysis in this project. She collected Chinese data from different resources and helped build the Chinese donation database. Zhengyun Zhu is a Master of Science in Business Analytics candidate at Bentley University. She received her B.S. in Mathematics from Fudan University.

Past Team Members

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.

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.

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 and also a visiting Rajawali Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center.

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.

Xiangyue Chen – Research Assistant. Xiangyue Chen involved in the Chinese donation data analysis in this project. She participated in the data collection, cleaning, validation and visualization of Chinese charity foundations. Xiangyue Chen is a Master of Science in Business Analytics candidate at Bentley University. She received her B.S. in Economics from Nanjing University.

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.

Fangzheng Sun – Research Assistant. Fangzheng Sun involved in the Chinese and US donation data collection and analysis in this project. Fangzheng received his M.S. in Data Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a B.S. in Applied Computational Math from the University of Washington.

Chen Xia – Research Assistant. Chen Xia is responsible for collecting, cleaning, analyzing and validating Chinese and US donation data in this project. Chen Xia is an Master of Science in Business Analytics candidate at Bentley University. She received her B.S. in Information Security from Fudan University.

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.

Maoran Sun - Research Assistant. Maoran is responsible for collecting, cleaning analyzing Chinese donation data and creating new data visualization in this project . He also helps on validating the US donation data. Maoran is an Master of Architecture in Urban Design candidate at Harvard University. He received his B.S. in City/Urban Planning from Southeast University.

Yadi Geng – Research Assistant. Yadi was responsible for the overall data analysis of the Chinese donation data. She also participated in creating new data visualization for the annual report. Yadi received her M.S. in Business Analytics from Bentley University and a B.S. in International Economics from the Univerisity of International Relations.