Connectivity has Reshaped the Philanthropy Landscape in China

Sep 24, 2016

(Left- Right) Dan Thomas, Spokesperson for the Office of the President of the General Assembly, Dr. Meng Zhaoli, Chief Economist of the Tencent Research Institute and Deputy Secretary of the Tencent Foundation & GU Qing, Assistant Country Director of UNDP, China

New York, 24 September- ‘The connectivity of smartphone users in China has fundamentally enhanced transparency and participation and reshaped the philanthropy landscape in China’ was the key message presented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and internet giant, Tencent at the United Nations ‘Digital Zone’ during the General Assembly week. The presentation was an opportunity to engage the media, key innovators and the public with digital philanthropy in China and its potential to help achieve the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In China smartphone innovation is allowing for effective philanthropy to no longer only be the work of big foundations or organizations, but anyone interested in giving back. Private citizens, with the help of socially conscious Internet companies, can now play a central role in driving new concepts of charity and philanthropy. In 2015, over 23 million Chinese internet users gave charitable gifts online, according to China Philanthropy Development Report 2016.

 “With the adoption of the SDGs to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and combat climate change by 2030, private and corporate philanthropy will play a critical role in making the Global Goals a reality” said Agi Veres, Country Director of UNDP China. “The digital era offers an opportunity to transform the philanthropy landscape and unleash the potential of netizens and companies to give.”

Presenting at the ‘Digital Media Zone’, UNDP highlighted how demographic change and an engaged youth has been the driving force behind the growth and high levels of participation in ‘online philanthropy’. 91% of donors are under the age of 37, according to recent data by Tencent Fundation. With new, fun and innovative ways to donate, e-giving is easier than ever before. For example, WERUN, a step monitoring app, through Tencent’s WeChat, allows users to ‘donate’ their steps to charity and share with their friends to follow suit; the ‘steps donation’ will then be matched up in cash donation supported by the private sector companies. Furthermore, many donations are not only in China but overseas with large donations by Chinese companies and citizens to the Nepal earthquake cause and Ebola outbreak.

 “The connectivity provided by the Tencent Foundation has unlocked the potential of philanthropy and improved the efficiency of matching donors to the recipients. In addition, this connectivity has enhanced transparency by regularly sending donors messages of philanthropy information to help build trust.” noted Dr. Meng Zhaoli, Chief Economist of the Tencent Research Institute and Deputy Secretary of the Tencent Foundation. “This connectivity empowers NGOs and charities by linking them with Tencent’s 800 million users and has increased the amount of small donations. Philanthropy and giving has become part of everyday life and now everyone can contribute towards public causes and charity. Together large amounts of small contributions are making a big change to entire communities and society.”

China’s innovation practice in philanthropy has demonstrated that community philanthropy has grown rapidly thanks to online platforms. For example, Tencent Foundation’s pioneering platform of online philanthropy has provided a solution to unlock the potential of China’s philanthropic development by significantly increasing transparency and participation, and enables NGOs and charities to raise funds online Charities and donors have grown rapidly by receiving two-way good feedback thanks to the transparency. During the latest 2016 ‘9.9 Charity Day’ earlier this month, a total of 300 million RMB in online donations were received within merely three days, plus an addition of 300 million RMB matched in funding provided by Tencent Foundation and other private sector partners.

To explore the advantages, challenges and potential to achieve the SDGs through online philanthropy, UNDP China and Tencent will soon launch a new report ‘Digital Philanthropy in China’. The report will present the trends of internet philanthropy, supplemented by big data analysis of the internet philanthropy research supported by Tencent, and furthermore will include recommendations for creating an enabling institutional environment for Internet philanthropy, building on the momentum of the new China Charity Law.

The ‘Digital Media Zone’ bridges the gap between the UN and the general public by providing a platform to translate high level discussions into engaging conversation. The ‘Digital Media Zone’ was set up to coincide with the UN high level General Assembly and provided the opportunity to emphasize the growing role of ‘smartphone philanthropy’ in China and how this can help contribute towards the achievement of Agenda 2030 to the participants.

Find out more about Philanthropy in China here

Find out more about the Digital Media Zone here

Contact information

Ms. ZHANG Wei, Chief Communications Officer, UNDP China Tel: +8610 8532 0715, Email:

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP China 
Go to UNDP Global