Chinese billionaires

Chinese woman tycoon tops list of country’s most generous givers with 2.92billion yuan donation

He Qiaonu, who founded one of Asia’s largest landscaping companies, gave more than 76 million shares of her company to a foundation to support environmental protection

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 January, 2016, 1:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 January, 2016, 2:11pm

A woman entrepreneur from Beijing has been crowned the mainland’s most generous philanthropist after making the largest single charitable donation of 2015.

He Qiaonu, founder and chairman of Beijing Orient Landscape, one of Asia’s largest landscape architecture companies, announced in September she would donate 76.3 million of her company’s shares to the Qiaonu Foundation to support environmental protection. The shares were worth 2.92 billion yuan (HK$3.46 billion).

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The donation was enough to make the 49-year-old businesswoman the mainland’s top philanthropist of the year, according to China Philanthropy Research Institute, at Beijing Normal University.

The institute has compiled a list of the top 100 mainland philanthropists based on donations last year. Between them, they donated 12.8 billion yuan.

He was followed by Chen Yidan, one of the founders of internet giant Tencent, who gave 2.02 billion yuan to support Wuhan College in Hubei province, while Li Hejun, Hanergy Thin Film Power chairman and once China’s richest man, came third for giving 1.02 billion yuan.

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group and China’s richest man, came in fifth for giving 360 million yuan, while Alibaba chairman Jack Ma was 10th for donating 234 million yuan.

Women were a fast-rising force, the institute said, adding that there were 15 women in the top 100, six of whom contributed more than 100 million yuan each.

“More women are making their own fortunes than ever before and getting more involved in

philanthropy,” said Zhang Gaorong, the institute’s assistant dean.

He herself ranked 59th on Forbes’ China Rich List last year.

Educational institutions were the biggest recipients of the philanthropy, with nearly 6.1 billion yuan going to foundations affiliated with universities. Some 1.1 billion yuan went to environmental protection.

READ MORE: 80 per cent of Chinese philanthropists donations last year went to institutions outside mainland China, says survey

“Compared with official foundations, educational institutions are more trusted by philanthropists, most of whom are alumni and involved in the management of university foundations themselves,” Zhang said.

Guangdong had the most philanthropists on the list, with 24 individuals and families coming from the province, followed by Beijing (20), Shanghai (11) and Zhejiang (10).

Twenty-one had made their wealth in real estate, while 18 came from the manufacturing industry. Fourteen were from information technology – double the amount of last year. Zhang said the trend showed “the ongoing economic transformation of China”.