The mainland's history of philanthropy and donating is deep and long-ranging, but has traditionally been less formal than the more structured set-ups often seen in more mature countries. That is changing as the country's charity system is becoming gradually more transparent, making philanthropy potentially more popular. Nathalie Sauvanet at BNP Paribas Wealth Management says mainland billionaires are now starting to donate large amounts to the needy. 'They mostly give through their enterprises, based on personal relationships and often to specific government-managed charities.' Donors are becoming aware of the need to resolve the underlying causes of problems rather than simply throwing money at the poor. That means more scrutiny of government policies, and more demand for accountability and transparency. 'Historically, we have seen philanthropic activities in China being focused on disasters - like floods and earthquakes - and the traditional activities, such as relief of poverty and sickness, and advancement of education,' says Fan Choi of Coutts and Co. 'Now donors are addressing the root of the problems by shaping the way people or the government behave, by promoting a change in policy. Donors also recognise the impact of scale, and therefore there is more partnership and collaboration with other charitable organisations, NGOs and the public sector.' Increasing affluence and growing awareness about philanthropic possibilities are helping to encourage philanthropy on the mainland, says the Bank of Singapore's Lee Woon Shiu. 'We understand, for instance, that the One Foundation set up by movie star Jet Li has inspired many similar initiatives, albeit on a smaller scale, across China,' he says. Christina Tung of UBS says that philanthropy in China has evolved in tandem with the country's rapid economic growth and with the increase in personal wealth. 'Many high-net-worth individuals in China come from humble backgrounds and, once they have created wealth, there is a strong impulse to give back to their local community and, more generally, to those in need,' she says. China's government has acknowledged the importance of the sector and is preparing legislation to encourage its growth, she adds. In recognition of the mainland's potential for philanthropy, a UBS philanthropy conference will take place in Beijing for the first time, in June, she says.