Tags: Gates | Buffett | Charity | China | Wealthy

Gates, Buffett Tout Charity Opportunities for China’s Wealthy

Wednesday, 15 Sep 2010 01:13 PM

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, planning a trip to China to discuss philanthropy, touted the chance the country’s wealthiest people have to make a difference through charity.

“The present generation of successful entrepreneurs has an opportunity to set an example for future generations in China,” Gates and Buffett, the world’s second- and third-richest people, said in a letter published yesterday by Xinhua News Agency. “It is very likely they will have a substantial impact on how large- scale philanthropy grows and develops in modern China.”

Gates, 54, and Buffett, 80, worth a combined $100 billion according to Forbes Magazine, are working to persuade fellow billionaires to give at least half their wealth to charity. The letter, written in response to questions from Xinhua, follows a report by the Chinese-language newspaper Economic Observer that said some wealthy Chinese declined an invitation to attend a private gathering with Gates and Buffett in Beijing.

“Some people have wondered if we’re coming to China to pressure people to give. Not at all,” Gates and Buffett said. “China’s circumstances are unique, and so its approach to philanthropy will be, as well.” They said they will visit the country “in a few weeks.”

Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Microsoft Corp. cofounder Gates have signed up more than 30 philanthropists, including Larry Ellison and Paul Allen, to their Giving Pledge initiative.

‘Noble Tradition’

Buffett said last month that he would broaden his efforts to India and China. In the letter, Gates and Buffett said they will listen to China’s philanthropists and share their own experiences.

“Certainly there is a long and noble tradition of giving in China going back centuries,” the two U.S. billionaires said. “The Giving Pledge is just one approach to philanthropy, and we do not know if it’s the right path forward for China.”

The Shanghai-based Hurun Report said in April that the number of millionaires in China had climbed 6 percent from a year earlier to 875,000. The average age of China’s wealthy is 39, 15 years younger than their counterparts overseas, it said.

The millionaires, with minimum assets of 10 million yuan ($1.48 million), made their money primarily from the service, property and manufacturing industries, the report said.

In contrast, China has about 21.5 million of its rural population living below the “absolute poverty” line of about $90 a year, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency website. An additional 35.5 million of people in the countryside live below the “low income” line of about $125 a year, the CIA said.

China’s gross-domestic product surpassed Japan’s in the second quarter, expanding 10.3 percent from a year earlier, and was second only to the United States. China will overtake the U.S., where annual GDP is about $14 trillion, as the largest economy by 2027, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief economist Jim O’Neill.

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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, planning a trip to China to discuss philanthropy, touted the chance the country s wealthiest people have to make a difference through charity. The present generation of successful entrepreneurs has an opportunity to set an example for future...
Gates,Buffett,Charity,China,Wealthy
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2010-13-15
Wednesday, 15 Sep 2010 01:13 PM
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