Report: Chinese philanthropy on the rise

Between 2006 and 2016 the number of foundations in China grew 430 per cent, amounting to 5,545 in total, while philanthropy by those of Chinese origin has been consistently on the rise in recent years, according to the results of a report by the Global Chinese Philanthropy Initiative. The report focuses on the ‘giving trends, motivations, and impact of Chinese and Chinese American philanthropists,’ evaluating Chinese communities both on the Chinese Mainland, and in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau as well as of Americans of Chinese descent. Total giving amounted to RMB101.9 billion according to the most recent available data, from 2014.
The report notes that primary philanthropic efforts have been focused primarily on disaster relief like the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, while both those from Greater China as well as those of Chinese descent show similar trends.
‘Chinese and Chinese Americans give to similar causes, including higher education, health, and the environment. Education ranks as the most popular cause among both Chinese and Chinese American philanthropists, and some of the most notable gifts have been to colleges and universities’.
Divergence is apparent, however, in the way that philanthropists in China - versus their counterparts in the U.S. - approach partnerships with government.
‘Among Chinese philanthropists, collaborative efforts with government agencies are common, especially in providing disaster relief, alleviating poverty, and [higher] education. In the United States, partnerships with government entities are highlighted less frequently, with only a few philanthropists engaging in policy education activities’.
Regarding MSAR philanthropists, the report highlights efforts made by former president of the Legislative Assembly Susana Chou Kei Jan via the Macao Tong Chai Charity Association. The Association estimates that it has ‘touched the lives of more than 135,500 children and 7,710 teachers in partnership with 32 partner organisations in Mainland China and Macau,’ notes the report.
In summary, the group found that the overall philanthropic ‘impact was hindered by the lack of professional staff, policies, and structures to facilitate giving, and the limited capacity of recipients. The growth of Chinese American foundations and giving amounts are likely to continue, outpacing overall U.S. trends.
The full report is available at