Operation Santa Claus

Alibaba staff get the sleigh bells ringing in festive fun ride

E-commerce company sponsors about 20 children to take part in race

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 10:50am

Staff from Alibaba were among those who took part in the Operation Santa Claus (OSC) sleigh ride at Hong Kong Football Club.

The Chinese e-commerce company joined the list of donors to the charity this year after its ­acquisition of the South China Morning Post.

About 20 Alibaba employees built makeshift sleighs with cardboard and tinsel.

Cheongho Li, chairman of the ­Alibaba community team, said they were proud to support local charity groups.

“OSC is a very meaningful charity campaign that aims to support the Hong Kong community and beyond,” he said.

“We are thrilled to be part of it and make a contribution to the development of our society. It is also a great ­corporate social ­responsibility ­endeavour that glues us ­together.”

The company also sponsored about 20 children from FHL Adventure Education Centre, which provides English lessons for ­underprivileged youngsters, to take part in a sleigh race.

The charity’s new ­programme, A Step Towards Your New Life, aims to tutor 100 young adults and 2,000 primary school children, supported by HK$850,000 from OSC.

The programme’s young adults, aged 18 to 25, will then be expected to develop a sufficient proficiency in English to allow them to teach the children.

Li said they had ­enjoyed the chance to meet some of the ­children who would benefit from fundraising. “Volunteers from our Hong Kong office had a lot of fun decorating the sleighs.”

Founded in 1988, OSC, which is jointly organised by the Post and RTHK, has raised over HK$250 million for more than 230 charities in Hong Kong, many of which support young people. Last year it raised a record HK$21.3 million for a variety of good causes and this year the organisers set a minimum target of HK$17 million.

Li said Alibaba could only achieve its broader business goals if it made efforts to support disadvantaged people, in order to make society a “better place”.

“It is important for our staff to participate because in Alibaba what we strive to do is to empower small businesses and make it easy to do business anywhere,” he said.

“This vision can only be achieved if our staff have the ­passion and commitment to lend our supporting hands to those less advantaged and thus make our society a better place to live in the first place.”

He added it was vital that companies such as Alibaba worked with partner agencies to reduce Hong Kong’s growing wealth gap.