Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bill Gates Is Now on China's WeChat

By Asia Pop Culture

This week, Bill Gates announced his arrival on Chinese social media WeChat.  He said he "planned to use his new WeChat account - gatesnotes - to share stories about the people he was meeting, books he was reading, and things he was learning."

He even made an inaugural WeChat video to say "Hello. Welcome to my official WeChat account," in Chinese before switching to English (His Mandarin Chinese has ample room for improvement, a long way from Facebook's Zuckerberg, and WWE's John Cena.)



Bill Gates already has a personal blog called gatenotes, the blog of Bill Gates, so I imagine his WeChat account is a way to draw the potentially massive Chinese social media audience to his blog and perhaps his charity and causes. Gates runs the $38 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2014, Gates wrote an editorial in People's Daily, which is considered a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, to call on China's wealthy to "redistribute their wealth as Reuters quoted:
"China has many successful entrepreneurs and business people. I hope that more people of insight will put their talents to work to improve the lives of poor people in China and around the world, and seek solutions for them..... Investing for the poor requires participation from the entire community."
Reuters then went on to say that
According to the World Bank, the average income per capita in China was $6,091 in 2012. But the country's rapid economic growth has exacerbated a rural-urban wealth gap, with people in many rural areas living on annual incomes below $1,000 and struggling with access to adequate healthcare.
In addition, Reuters noted China ranks towards the bottom of the list of countries where people give money to charity, volunteer or help a stranger, according to The World Giving Index, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation.

During the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, the tiny Taiwan provided over $252 million in combined aid, and were among the largest contributors in monetary aid, according to Wikipedia. A lot of that money was raised through private fund raising efforts instead of official government sources.

There were reports of several private Japanese citizen groups went over to Taiwan in the years after 2011 to personally thank people in Taiwan for their just-in-time generous donation (Japanese government failed to officially even acknowledge Taiwan's humanitarian response due to political reasons.)

Reportedly, the mighty China sent $167,000 in aid along with a 15-member rescue team and an additional pledge of $4.57 million of humanitarian supplies.

In other words, philanthropy in China has yet to take off.

Yes, the New York Times and Bloomberg in recent years have chronicled the accumulation of spectacular wealth among family members of some of China's top Communist Party leaders, but it is like asking a famished lion to give up that piece of steak already in its mouth.  So unfortunately, Bill could be greatly disappointed if he sees China as a 'rich target' for his mission of charitable causes.

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