Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Gates and Buffett sell giving to China

Already convincing many American billionaires to give away their wealth, William Buffet and Bill Gates are talking to the new rich in China. The rapid economic expansion China experienced over the last thirty years created many new billionaires.

The challenge for Gates and Buffett in selling the idea to their Chinese counterparts is that the idea of giving is unknown to many, and new to some. Also, China's billionaires are still young and still concentrating on building more wealth and may not be interested in philanthropy just yet.

From this Associated Press article that we found at the Las Vegas Sun we find out more about the new Gates and Buffett "venture" into China.

Reactions to Gates and Buffett's trip have been swift and varied: One prominent Chinese philanthropist quickly pledged his entire fortune to charity, while the head of a private foundation said Chinese businesses should be leery of emulating American-style charity donations before essential corporate standards such as worker's rights are improved.

Many have pointed to shortcomings in China's charity system, which critics say lacks transparency.

The discussion underscores what experts say is the relatively immature state of philanthropy in China, where in just three decades economic reforms pulled hundreds of millions out of poverty and created a generation of newly minted millionaires.

Gates and Buffett have been campaigning to convince other American billionaires to give most of their fortunes to charity and hope to spread the idea of generosity on a trip to China later this month. Their campaign includes a private dinner in Beijing with a group of wealthy Chinese _ and some are wary.

A "small number" of the more than 50 invited guests called to ask if they would be required to pledge a donation at the dinner, said Jing Zhang, press officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is coordinating the Sept. 29 event. But Gates and Buffett just want to talk, Zhang said Tuesday.

Still, that hasn't stopped one of their guests, multimillionaire philanthropist Chen Guangbiao, from declaring in an open letter to Gates and Buffett that he would donate all of his fortune upon his death.

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