How China's Social Media Giant Tencent Is Shaking Up Traditional Philanthropy
The Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan that killed 69,000 people in 2008 shook up China’s social media and online giant Tencent Holdings, located 1,000 kilometers away in Shenzhen. Social media was buzzing with users who wanted to lend a hand during one of China’s worst disasters in modern history. The company previously made scattered efforts involving philanthropy, such as donating PCs, but its leaders now had the same question as everyone else: What more could they do?
The Wenchuan earthquake “was the turning point” for the company’s efforts in philanthropy, said Charles Chen, a Tencent co-founder and then chief administration officer who was also the first chairman of the Tencent Charity Foundation, the company’s in-house fund. Expanding beyond a web location that was created in 2007, Tencent by 2013 went on to add a new philanthropy site to its hugely popular WeChat social platform. As of Mar. 31 this year, WeChat boasted some 938 million users.