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Alibaba has pledged to combat poverty in China by investing 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) over the next five years in sectors including education, health and the environment.
The Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund signals that the e-commerce giant has fully entered an era of charity, Sun Lijun, the company"s vice-president, said on Friday at the Xin Charity Forum. He described the effort as a strategic part of its business.
Sun added that Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, has started a rural education program, while CEO Zhang Yong has launched an e-commerce poverty relief program.
China has set a goal to complete the building of a "moderately prosperous society" in all respects by 2020, which requires the eradication of poverty.
To contribute to this goal, Alibaba set up its poverty relief fund in December and pledged to contribute 10 billion yuan over five years.
Sun said the company will make the most of the money and focus on the long-term effects of poverty alleviation.
"If we simply divide the money evenly between the 43 million impoverished people in China, each would receive little and could achieve nothing," he said, "We must make sure that people lifted out of poverty do not become impoverished again."
Sun said education is key to achieving this, adding that Alibaba"s funds now reach establishments from primary schools to universities.
Alibaba has also carried out programs in the health sector, such as its Backbone Project, which reimburses the medical bills of the breadwinners in impoverished families, and a training program for rural doctors, he said.
The company is also looking at the environmental sector for potential poverty alleviation prospects.
"We have the Ant Forest program to encourage Alipay users to trade low-carbon lifestyles for trees planted in deserts," Sun added. "Next we plan to plant trees with economic value to boost local development."24hr wristband design your own wristband wristbands online 24 hour wristbands tyvek wristbands