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The Economist looks at philanthropy in China, and what the recent announcement from founders of Chinese company Alibaba may mean for its future.

"WHEN Bill Gates and Warren Buffett toured China in 2010 they hoped to encourage China's many newly minted billionaires to take up philanthropy. Local elites gave them the cold shoulder. Despite making vast fortunes in a country suffering from widening income inequality, surprisingly few Chinese fat cats have embraced charitable giving. That may be about to change. Jack Ma (pictured above), the founder of Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, and Joseph Tsai, a co-founder, announced on April 24th that they have set up charities to be funded by stock options in the firm. This matters not only because Mr Ma is a widely admired entrepreneur. His firm is also about to go public in America, with analysts speculating it may be worth over $100 billion. It is thought that the options to be handed over to the new charities could be worth several billion dollars." -- V.V.V., the Economist

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