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Tencent's Pony Ma says to give shares worth US$2b to charity

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The founder of China's Tencent Holdings Ltd, Pony Ma, said he plans to donate 100 million company shares worth more than US$2 billion to the firm's charity foundation.

[SHANGHAI] The founder of China's Tencent Holdings Ltd, Pony Ma, said he plans to donate 100 million company shares worth more than US$2 billion to the firm's charity foundation.

Mr Ma, one of China's richest with an estimated fortune of US$18.8 billion, said the donation would go towards supporting medical, educational and environmental causes in China.

Hong Kong-listed shares in Tencent, China's largest social network and online entertainment firm, closed up 0.24 per cent at HK$165.70 on Monday, making the donation worth about US$2.1 billion.

"After 10 years of exploration and participation in philanthropic activities, I increasingly feel that there is a need for a more longer-term, efficient and organised way to give back to society," he said in a statement on Monday.

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The Tencent Foundation was established in 2007 and cooperates with other charity organisations, the company said.

An October survey of China's super-rich found China has overtaken the United States as the country with the most billionaires.

Mr Ma's large donation is unusual in a country where philanthropy has yet to take off.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett made headlines in 2010 when they asked 50 of China's richest people to a philanthropy dinner. A third turned the invitation down, reportedly due to fears they would be pressed to donate money.

REUTERS

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