The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation releases its inaugural list of 2015’s top 100 Chinese philanthropists

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2015 Overview

This original database includes individual philanthropists giving in Mainland China between September 2014 and August 2015. We studied the geography of giving and receiving, causes supported, industries represented, and level of generosity, etc.

$3.8 Billion

Donated and Pledged


Of China’s GDP

Key Findings

  • Wang Miaotong, Chairman of Century Huatong Co. Ltd. in Zhejiang province, tops the 2015 Generosity Index at 5.61% of his publicly disclosed net worth.
  • He Xiangjian, founder of Midea Group Co. Ltd. in Guangdong, tops the 2015 Giving List at ¥400 million ($63 million).
  • China's wealthiest prefer to give in their home provinces – six out of every 10 RMB donated by the Top 100 is given locally. China’s poorest areas such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and Yunnan combined received only 1.96% of top 100 giving.
  • Education is the most popular cause of choice. Despite the acute environmental challenges facing China in 2015, environmental causes rank last in funding received.
  • Total donations and pledges of the Top 100 account for a quarter of national donations in 2014.
  • 4 out of the top 10 philanthropists hail from the real estate sector.
  • 24 of these donors have never appeared in major philanthropic rankings.
  • Mean: ¥52 million ($8.2 million). Median: ¥20 million ($3.1 million).
  • China’s top philanthropists average 54 years of age. In the U.S., average giving as a percentage of net worth increases with age.
  • China’s philanthropists are professionalizing, with 17 donors operating their own foundations in 2015.

Top 10 - Generosity


Wang Miaotong

¥101 Million

Chen Chichang

¥100 Million

Li Defu

¥100 Million

Zhou Xuzhou

¥13 Million

Ke Xiping

¥30.6 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 4.47%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Welfare

Zhou Fangjie

¥15 Million

Liu Shui

¥128 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 1.69%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Environment

Wang Yusuo

¥302.3 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 2.68%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief

Deng Wei

¥71.02 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 2.14%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Unspecified

You Zhisheng

¥61 Million

Top 10 - Giving


He Xiangjian

¥423 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 0.54%
  • Focus Causes: Welfare, Education, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation

Wang Jianlin

¥1387 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 0.21%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief, Culture, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation, Welfare, Government

Tang Lixin

¥420.54 Million

Xing Fuping

¥310 Million

Wang Yusuo

¥302.3 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 2.68%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief

Lu Chaokang

¥220 Million

Xu Lianjie

¥212 Million

Lu Zhiqiang

¥1246.18 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 1.85%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation, Public Health

Jack Ma Yun

¥276.23 Million
  • View profile
  • Generosity Index: 0.14%
  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief, Environment, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation, Welfare, Unspecified

Wu Shaoxun

¥346 Million
  • View profile
  • Focus Causes: Education, Disaster Relief, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation, Welfare

Guangdong – Land of Giving

The southern province of China is home to 21 philanthropists who donated about ¥1.1 billion, making it the most generous region in terms of absolute giving and number of donors. He Xiangjian, founder of the electrical appliance manufacturer Midea, leads with ¥400 million donation in 2015.

Real Estate Gives

China’s booming property market has minted the most top philanthropists. Nearly a third of the country's top 100 donors come from the construction/real estate industry, followed by Manufacturing (19), Consumer (14) and Technology (13).

Education Takes

Education causes receive the lion’s share with 59 philanthropists making contributions. Poverty Alleviation/Social Welfare is the second most active sector (52), followed by Disaster Relief (8) and Healthcare (8). Significantly, giving to environmental causes ranks last.

Government Takes the Lead...

Though high-profile scandals have eroded trust in government-backed charities, they continue to play a dominant role. More than half of the philanthropists (57) donate to government or state-affiliated charities.

...But Private Donors are Rising

Top Chinese donors are increasingly developing their own systems for professionalized philanthropy. Nearly a fifth of the donors on this list have established their own personal or family foundations as a vehicle for giving.

Gender Inequality

China's top donors are overwhelmingly male, with only 11 of the Top 100 philanthropists this year are women.

89 male philanthropists

11 female philanthropists

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 to a wide audience in a brief format.

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. The 2015 report was compiled by: Peiran Wei (MC MPA '15, Harvard Kennedy School), Zijia Guo (MIB '15, The Fletcher School of Tufts University), Qinqin Wu (MDes '15, Harvard Graduate School of Design), Cuimei Zhang (Ed.M '15, Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Evan Kornbluh (MPP/MBA Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School/Harvard Business School).

Research team