The 2016 China Charity Ranking: An Analysis of Charitable Donations in 2015

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The annual China Charity Ranking, supported by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and the China Philanthropy Times, is an overall summary of the state of Chinese charitable donations over the previous year.

The ranking of chinese philanthropists: philanthropists working in finance, real estate and the internet lead the way

The 2016 China Charity Ranking (the 13th edition of the China Charity Ranking, or 第十三届中国慈善榜) includes 147 philanthropists, who made total donations of 5.263 billion Yuan. Both the number of philanthropists and the amount of donations have clearly dropped compared with the rankings for 2015. This reflects a trend consistent with the economic situation. This trend stands in stark contrast to the rapid growth of public donations.

At the same time, in terms of the sectors from which the philanthropists come, the financial, real estate and internet industries still play a significant role.

To sum up, the general outlook for donations in 2015 remains quite good.


The total amount of donations has declined

Within the rankings there are 15 philanthropists who have donated over 100 million Yuan per person, for a total of 2.19 billion; 42 philanthropists who have donated over 50 million per person, for a total of 3.688 billion; and 105 philanthropists who have donated over 10 million per person, for a total of 5.09 billion. Philanthropists who donated over 10 million Yuan account for more than 96% of the total. 

The gap between this year and last year’s situation (the 2015 China Charity Ranking) is quite striking.

199 philanthropists made the list of the 2015 China Charity Ranking, and they donated 21.9 billion Yuan in total. The 2015 Ranking remains the one with the highest amount of donations by far. This was mainly caused by Jack Ma’s large donations in 2014, when Jack Ma and Cai Chongxin donated the options they held in Alibaba, which made up 2% of the general equity of the Alibaba Group. Jack Ma’s part alone was worth 12.4 billion Yuan.

If we don’t consider the donations made by Jack Ma, the other 198 philanthropists in the 2015 ranking donated 9.502 billion Yuan in total, with each one donating 47.74 million Yuan in average. However, the average number for 2016 is only 35.8 million Yuan per person.

This change, to some extent, is in accordance with the change in the economic situation in 2015.


Some sectors, like the internet industry, hold great power

Although the total amount of donations declined, some specific industries still had an eye-catching performance in 2015.

Last year, the philanthropist who donated the most money came from the Internet industry. Chen Yidan, the main funder of Tencent and the sponsor of the Tencent Foundation, ranked first with donations of 295 million Yuan, donations which were mainly put into the construction of the Wuhan College. Apart from Chen Yidan, four more philanthropists from the internet industry are also in the ranking: Jack Ma from Alibaba, Li Yanhong from Baidu, Liu Qiangdong from and Pang Shengdong from

Within the ranking there are 16 philanthropists from the real estate industry, making them the biggest group. They have altogether donated 535 million Yuan, and account for one tenth of the total amount.

The financial and investment industry has contributed the largest donations in total. 12 philanthropists donated 572 million Yuan.

It can be seen from these statistics that if a specific industry develops quite well, the entrepreneurs from that industry will correspondingly make a bigger contribution to philanthropy.


The Ranking of Chinese Enterprises for Philanthropy: private enterprises playing the dominant role in giving large donations

The number of enterprises donating more than one hundred million and their total donations in 2015 are almost equal to what they were in 2014. The top three donating enterprises are the Century Golden Resources Group, Tencent and the Dalian Wanda Group, in that order. According to the ranking, private companies have become major donors and have gradually enlarged their coverage in China; nearly all the high ranking donors are from the economically developed regions; large donors are still mainly from the real estate and energy and minerals industries, but their proportion has declined; social responsibility is increasingly emphasized; and enterprises’ annual donations to society tend to stabilize when no major disasters occur during the year.

Since the enterprises that do charity work started being covered in the third edition of the China Charity Ranking (2006), their ranks have been strictly listed according to the total monetary and financial donations of the previous year, with 1 million Yuan as the bottom amount. This year, the Century Golden Resources Group ranks top with total donations of 519.6 million Yuan, while Tencent with 470 million Yuan and the Dalian Wanda Group with 360 million Yuan both rank behind. In 2015, the listed 349 enterprises made donations of 4.8667385 billion Yuan in total, out of which 13 enterprises donated more than 100 million each and accounted for 2.86672 billion Yuan. These numbers are basically equal to those of last year. We can see that enterprises’ annual donations to society tend to stabilize when no major disasters occur.

Looking at Chinese enterprises in the Mainland, it is clear that private enterprises still performed strongly in 2015. There are 219 private enterprises listed, accounting for 62.75% of total enterprises, and their overall donations amounted to 3.91749 billion Yuan, accounting for 80.49% of the total. This figure of 80.49% is almost 20% higher than last year’s 60.57%. Eight private enterprises are listed among the top 10 donors and 11 private enterprises donated no less than 100 million Yuan. As the primary donating group, these 11 private enterprises contributed 2.52958 billion Yuan totally, nearly 800 million Yuan higher than the figure for the previous year.

Coming to the enterprise’s location, donations are mainly from the economically developed regions such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. A Guangdong-based enterprise again ranks top with total donations of 1.0228 billion Yuan.

Looking at the different sectors that the enterprises belong to, large donors are still mainly from the real estate and energy and minerals industries, but their proportion is decreasing. For example, 35 enterprises from the real estate industry are listed this year, but the figure last year was 54. These 35 enterprises made total donations of 970.31 million Yuan, with a year-on-year drop of nearly 200 million Yuan.


The Ranking of Chinese Charitable Foundations: public offering of funds dramatically increasing

Last year we added the ranking of Chinese Charitable Foundations to the China Charity Ranking for the first time. We released the second edition of Chinese Charitable Foundations this year. At present, there are 4923 foundations in Mainland China. The amount of foundations is growing rapidly due to several positive policies, such as fewer restrictions on registration.

Generally speaking, Public-Fundraising Foundations had a strong performance in 2015. Comparing the first diagram with the second one, we can see that the top ten public-fundraising foundations raised over 3.9 billion Yuan in 2015, 1.1 billion more than the donations raised by the previous year’s top ten foundations. Thirteen foundations raised more than 100 million Yuan each while only seven foundations reached this level in 2014. Given the Nepal Earthquake in 2015 (which influenced Tibet) and the Ludian Earthquake (in Yunnan) in 2014, major natural disasters appear not to be the dominant reason causing the big gap between the amounts of fundraising in the two years.


“Internet+” helps foundations with fundraising

“Internet+” refers to the application of the internet and other information technologies in conventional industries. It is an incomplete equation where various internets (the mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data or the Internet of Things) can be added to other fields, fostering new industries and business development in China.

It is reported by the China Philanthropy Times that many foundations said enterprises had less incentive to donate money in 2015, because of the economic recession. By contrast, the amount of funds raised from the public by foundations has dramatically increased. Funds raised from the public made up nearly 40% of total donations for the China Youth Development Foundation in 2015, 30% for the China Women Development Foundation and 59% for the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children(中华少年儿童慈善基金会). More than 70% of the funds of the One Foundation have come from donations from the public in the last two years.

If the funds raised from the public by a single foundation increase, this may be caused by its own attitudes and fundraising methods. But the fact that so many different foundations are all increasing the amount of funds raised from the public indicates their close link to the popular model of “Internet + charity”. In 2015, nearly all the public-fundraising foundations did a great job in online fundraising. The Charity Day of the 9thof September, sponsored by Tencent, created a “charity festival” in which the model of “Internet+” played an important role. The combination of the Internet and charity integrates fundraising into communication, introducing charity to the general public. This way it is more convenient for people to donate money and learn about the project, with the closer relationship between charitable organizations and donors and a greater transparency in donations. On April 20th, the One Foundation started to cooperate with Aliyun. The agreement is that Aliyun will support One Foundation’s Monthly Donation Strategy based on Big Data Service and data mining technology. Following this trend, the Internet is of great significance for charitable organizations to protect donors’ interests.

When it comes to non-public-fundraising foundations, six foundations donated more than 100 million Yuan each in 2015 while only three did so in 2014. Generally speaking, there is little difference betweenthe ranking of non-public fundraising foundations in 2015 and 2014.

On the 29th of May last year, the Recommendation on Supporting National Enterprises to Take Part in Charity was jointly released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration, clearly pointing out that national enterprises are encouraged to actively take part in charity. In August the China Internet Development Foundation was set up in Beijing, becoming China, and maybe the world’s, first public-fundraising foundation to operate exclusively in the field of the Internet.


Foundations lead Chinese civil charities in going abroad

In the field of charitable services, 2015 saw large-scale overseas assistance coming from the forces of civil society. On April 25th, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake happened in Nepal. Faced with this catastrophe, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, the One Foundation, the Amity Foundation and the China Social Welfare Foundation, together with their rescue teams, arrived at the site of the disaster at once in order to start rescue operations and organize donations. This overseas assistance was the catalyst that encouraged civil society to go overseas, marking a great milestone in the development of china’s civil charity.

In 2015, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation established branch offices in Myanmar and Nepal. The foundation’s internationalization has already moved from the first stage of quick emergency rescue to the second stage of organizing international projects and setting up international branches. Now it is moving into the third stage, which represents sending officers abroad to operate long-term projects and registering overseas offices. Furthermore, the Amity Foundation set up its African Office in the capital of Ethiopia in July 2015, becoming the first Chinese charitable organization to officially set up an office in Africa.

Following the recent earthquake in Ecuador, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, the Amity Foundation and the Zhejiang Ram Union arrived in Ecuador to provide assistance. What can be predicted is that more and more Chinese civil charities will start to show their muscle abroad in the future.

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