Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to bring philanthropic mission in China

By on Sep 5, 2010 in Headlines, United States, World Comments

World’s top billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are bound to visit China to bring a philanthropic mission.

The pair billionaire will host a dinner in Beijing this month, and top Chinese investors are invited to come.

The exclusive list of attendees will include Zhang Xin, CEO of Chinese SOHO China, the real estate developer, and Wang Chuanfu, head of BYD, and the car and battery maker, who counts Buffett as an investor.

However, the head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Beijing said in Chinese media that he is worried that some invited guests might be hesitant to come.

“A small number of people declined the invitation to attend, while many of the invitees called to ask whether they would be required to pledge a donation at the dinner,” the director of the foundation’s China program, Ray Yip, was quoted as saying.

“Their biggest fear is being embarrassed and put on the spot.” Yip‘s spokesperson did not dispute his comments, carried on a major news portal and the Economic Observer, when contacted on Friday.

Yip said the dinner was anticipated to allow Gates and Buffett to get to know friends and exchange ideas about partners interested in charity, not to convince Chinese tycoons to make donations.

Buffett and Gates might send out an explanatory letter reassuring their guests that they would not be put on the spot in the way their counterparts in the US had been, according to Chinese media reports.

In June, this initiative was launched in the US; and the Buffett-Gates tandem gained secured support from many wealthy American individuals and their families.

Rupert Hoogewerf, who compiles the Hurun Report, China‘s rich list, said many Chinese remained skeptical of the motivations of people donating money.

“The most important stakeholder in all charities in China is always the government, and there is usually a suspicion that a lot of donations are not pure philanthropy but rather influence-buying by wealthy business people.”

But Hoogewerf was confident about the U.S. pair’s work in China, especially after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which changed the priorities of many Chinese entrepreneurs.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are idolized by Chinese entrepreneurs,” he said. “Their coming out here is likely to good start philanthropy in China.”

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