Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett plan to sell the art of giving to China's super rich in a visit later this month that's already sparked some soul searching among the world's second-largest number of billionaires.
Reactions to Gates and Buffett's planned September 29 event have been swift and varied: one prominent Chinese philanthropist quickly pledged his entire fortune to charity, while the head of a private foundation said Chinese businesses should be leery of emulating American-style charity donations before essential corporate standards such as workers' rights are improved.
There are at least 875,000 US dollar millionaires in China, according to Shanghai-based analyst Rupert Hoogewerf, who studies China's wealthy and puts together the Hurun list. Among them, 130 are billionaires, second only to the US. Hoogewerf said that at an average age of 39 years, the rich Chinese are generally 15 years younger than their foreign counterparts and are generating more wealth faster, in the service, property and manufacturing sectors.