China’s largest tech companies, including Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, are rushing to announce donations amounting to almost 1 billion (US$154 million) to flood relief efforts in central Henan province where heavy rains have killed at least 12 in the capital city of Zhengzhou and displaced over 100,000 throughout the province.
Alibaba, the owner of the South China Morning Post, has announced a 100 million yuan (US$15.4 million) donation to Henan. Its payment affiliate Ant Group will also donate 100 million yuan while founder Jack Ma’s foundation said it will give 50 million.
Social media and gaming giant Tencent, Beijing-based ByteDance, and on-demand services platform Meituan said they will donate 100 million yuan each, according to separate company statements on Wednesday.
Chinese search engine Baidu announced a donation of 90 million yuan, while smartphone makers Xiaomi and Oppo as well as short video platform Kuaishou announced a donation of 50 million yuan each. Internet security company Qihoo 360 Technologies Co and its chief executive officer Zhou Hongyi said they will donate 40 million yuan.
The rush of donations by China’s Big Tech, along with multiple corporate initiatives to help people and business in the flood-hit areas, come as the country’s technology firms are under scrutiny by both Beijing and society at large for putting profits before social responsibility.
The wave of donations announced by China’s technology giants came ahead of big state-owned enterprises and traditional industrial conglomerates. Foxconn Industrial Internet, operator of the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, also donated 100 million yuan.
Video clips of muddy water washing away cars and people on the streets of Zhengzhou, a city of 10 million, went viral on Chinese social media on Wednesday. Twelve of the 13 officially confirmed deaths were passengers trapped on the subway when floodwater poured into the underground tunnel.