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Alibaba launches China anti-poverty campaign

HANGZHOU: December 01, 2017. Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma has established a US$1.5 billion 'Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund' by leveraging the company's technology in attempt to end hunger in China.

In July last year the Jack Ma Foundation pledged US$30 million over 10 years to help train headmasters and educational leaders in remote villages and towns in China. Alibaba has also established a 'Rural Taobao' program to raise the living standard in China's countryside by providing e-commerce access and technical expertise to millions of the country's poorer residents.

"We don't want to help poor people by only offering them fish, but enable them to be self-reliant so they know how to fish for themselves," said Ma. "We believe the end of poverty is a goal that can be achieved and our fund embodies our long-standing commitment to give back to society," he added.

Alibaba poverty fundSupport for the fund will come from Alibaba's 36 partners, employees and the Alibaba Foundation, a charity set up in 2011 that takes 0.3 percent of group's annual revenue to support CSR initiatives.

In addition to money, the company says it will provide expertise and technology from its e-commerce, logistics, payment and financial service platforms to help China's rural population. In the past 18 months Alibaba employees and those of associated companies have contributed over 230,000 hours of volunteer work to help their communities.

The latest Credit Suisse Global Wealth report published in November says Communist China had 1,590 millionaires in 2016 – down 43 from the previous year. By contrast, the U.S. gained 253 to top 13,500 in the same year.

This month the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will tour the U.S. to examine government efforts to eradicate poverty and how they relate to U.S. obligations under international human rights law. "Despite great wealth in the U.S., there also exists great poverty and inequality," he said prior to beginning his visit.

The U.S. Census Bureau says (at least) 41 million Americans live below the poverty line.

Credit Suisse notes emerging nations are home to 18 percent of the world's ultra-high net worth population. China alone accounts for nine percent of the top decile of global wealth holders - well above France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The bank adds that while the bottom half of the world's population collectively own less than one percent of total wealth, the wealthiest top 10 percent own 89 percent of all global assets.

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