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Tencent announces 50b yuan social charity investment plan

By HE WEI in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-20 10:14

A Tencent office building in Shanghai on Monday. [Photo/Agencies]

'Long-term and constant' move an effort to 'leverage tech to help society develop'

Tencent Holdings Ltd announced a plan to double its fund for social charitable causes in a bid to help promote "common prosperity" in China.

The internet giant is investing an additional 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) on supporting everything from rural revitalization, enhancing efficiency of the rural economy, increasing incomes for low-income people, funding inclusive education programs and other measures to enhance social fairness, the company said on Thursday though its official WeChat channel.

This latest move, which Tencent promised to be "long-term and constant", adds to an April pledge of 50 billion yuan for the "Sustainable Innovations for Social Value" program, which is dedicated to basic science, education innovation, carbon neutrality, food/energy/water provisions, and technology for the elderly and digitalization of public welfare.

In a news release, Tencent said the efforts "underscored its initiatives in China's wealth redistribution campaign and constant exploration in enhancing social welfare and contributing to common prosperity".

Tencent's new initiatives mark a proactive response to the nation's development strategy. The recently-convened 10th meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs has turned the spotlight on the country's pursuit of common prosperity.

Participants at the meeting encouraged some people to become prosperous first, then help others get rich later. They also called for the creation of conditions and opportunities for more people to develop and become prosperous.

"As a Chinese technology company growing up in the tide of reform and opening-up, we are constantly pondering how we can leverage our own technology and digital capabilities to help the society develop," the company statement said.

It outlined two parallel paths for development: Exploring future and unknown realms to help bolster China's long-term sustainable development, and training sets on social inclusiveness, using technologies to improve more people's lives by improving welfare and creating opportunities.

It pledged to play the role of a "connector", linking more partners in the ecosystem, government departments and various social forces to embark on inclusive social causes.

Tencent has spared no effort in its social endeavors. The invention of a smart phone-based digital Health Code embodies its dual efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic to constructing smart cities, it said. In August, Tencent also cut the playing time for its signature gaming title Honor of Kings for minors.

It has made initial steps in optimizing its philanthropic platform where some 20,000 public welfare agencies set foot, fostering emergency relief endeavors, establishing labs for rural development, carbon neutrality, basic discipline research and technology products for the elderly.

"An excellent internet company is not only an innovative company that uses big data, artificial intelligence, 5G, cloud computing, blockchain and other new technologies to lead a new economic model. It shall also be a mature company embracing humanistic care and goodwill that actively assumes social responsibilities," said Tian Feng, a researcher at the National Institute of Social Development of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Tencent on Wednesday reported a 29 percent rise in second-quarter profit at 42.6 billion yuan, while revenue climbed 20 percent to 138.3 billion yuan.

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