Friday, 22 November 2013

Fact of the Day: HK$7 Billion Donated in 2012

Private bank Coutts has revealed in a recent report that almost HK$7 billion was donated to charities by 47 Hong Kong philanthropists.

When converted to US dollars it's $877 million, and this compares the city to the United States ($13.96 billion), the Middle East ($727 million) and $1.18 billion from China.

Most impressive is a single donation of $257 million from 94-year-old plastics billionaire Dr Tin Ka-ping, which made nearly 30 percent of the total Hong Kong donations. His donation went to a foundation set up in 1982 to focus on education in the city and in China.

The vast majority of the Hong Kong donations when locally and to the mainland, and less than 5 percent overseas.

Coutts Institute director Mark Evans says the actual total amount of donations in the city could be even higher, as only publicly recorded donations were tallied.

The Hong Kong research was made with the partnership of Chinese University, by going through public records, charity annual reports and news stories.

Evans noted the large donations follows a worldwide trend of wealthy families setting up foundations instead of leaving large inheritances to children.

"Succession of family business empires has been a point of worry for many rich families," he said. "More and more families are thinking twice about leaving all the money to their children.

"They are worried that it could be very damaging [to the next generation]... This has become one of the bigger motivations for philanthropy."

This seems like a good solution, and one that benefits the community and society as a whole. Hong Kong needs patrons who will take the lead in solving or at least alleviating social issues because the government seems to hem and haw over minor details.

So while all this money for goodwill is amazing, who is making sure it is going to all the right places? That's what needs to be answered.

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