Hong Kong-listed companies donated US$2.1 billion to charity last year, an increase of 28 per cent on 2016
Property developers gave away HK$8.2 billion, more than any other industry
Companies listed in Hong Kong made record charitable donations last year to narrow the gap with their US counterparts, according to a report released on Wednesday by Sodata Analytics Foundation Association, a non-profit group that tracks corporate philanthropy.
Led by property developers and financial institutions, 959 out of the 1,826 companies that trade on Hong Kong’s main board altogether donated HK$16.3 billion (US$2.1 billion) in 2017, a surge of 28 per cent over 2016.
The average ratio between a company’s donation and its net profit rose to 0.41 per cent last year, rising for a third straight year from 0.24 in 2014. This compares with 0.8 per cent for companies in the United States, the report found.
Property developers made more donations than companies in any other industry, with 132 of them having given away HK$8.2 billion, or HK$36 million for each company on average. Financial and information technology companies were the second and third largest givers, with HK$3.6 billion and HK$1 billion, respectively.
“Financial markets in Hong Kong grew significantly last year, no matter the companies’ stock prices, profit or revenue, which is why donations surged,” said Michael Yip, founder of Sodata Analytics.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index has lost 14 per cent this year, weighed down by the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing, and slowing economic growth in China. But last year, it rose by 36 per cent, making Hong Kong one of the best-performing stock markets in the world.
China Evergrande, the country’s third-largest property developer by sales, topped all listed companies for a second year with a staggering HK$5 billion in donations to charitable causes, including poverty alleviation, education and environment.
The company has invested 3 billion yuan (US$433.3 million) since 2015 to help develop modern farming in Dafang county, one of the poorest counties in Guizhou province in southwestern China.
HSBC and Tencent were the second and third largest donors, giving away HK$1.1 billion and HK981 million, respectively.
Yip said Hong Kong companies still had a long way to go, as the top 10 largest donors accounted for about 60 per cent of all donations. And 47 per cent of publicly traded companies did not make any donations last year.
Sodata Analytics compiled the data based on the companies’ annual reports.