Yes, that’s right, wealthy donors from developing countries, notably China and India. They are increasingly giving, donating, caring and sympathizing. Not, as some of you may think, just sell and take. And it’s not only a new phenomena. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have actually been quiet donors for decades.
And they are not just generous at home but on a global scale. Profound cultural change and consumers at home starting to demand what their counterparts in the West are demanding are some of the reasons behind. A Chinese company who funds worthy causes all over the world are more popular with Chinese customers.
Not only Westerners are generous
Seems to me philanthropy is frequently associated with only the West. Especially by Westerners. What’s forgotten is that there are giving and caring people of all nationalities. Did you for instance know that 86% of global consumers want businesses to focus as much on the interests of society as their company’s interests?
Emerging markets customers expect businesses to support worthy causes
The majority of Indian, Chinese and Brazilian customers prefer to buy brands that support good causes, but measured on a global scale the figure is actually lower. Edelman, a global public relations company, claims that 8 out of 10 customer in India, China, Mexico and Brazil expect companies to donate part of their profits to worthy causes.
At least 1,800 foundations in China
The China Foundation Center aims to make Chinese philanthropy more transparent. Their members are a mix of pubic and private foundations, including the Jet Li One Foundation
As is plain to see from above web sites, China is not just a place where fortunes are being made but also where the rich are turning into the philanthropists of today and tomorrow. It should be noted that many of them are voluntarily giving money away.
According to the Philanthropy Bluebook 2011, issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, donations in 2010 exceeded 11 billion US dollars.
Philanthropy moving East?
Philanthropy has been done for decades by wealthy Saudi Arabians as well as their neighbours in Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain. The Al Sauds, Al Sabahs, Al Rajhis, Al Zamils and Al Amoudis to name just a few. But they have given donations without announcing it to the world.
Saudi Arabia was for instance one of the first donors to victims of the tsunami early 2005 but Western media frequently did not even mention their generosity because of the ongoing Saudi bashing.
Considering that developing countries’ economies are vastly out performing the West it’s just a question of how long it takes before emerging market philanthropists start setting up foundations in the West to help our poor. Can’t help wondering how sections of Americans and Europeans will feel about that? Am sure there will be an outcry, especially from prejudiced people objecting to “charity” courtesy of say, Saudi Arabia or China.
Isn’t it time for the world to face up to the fact that we live in global market and recognize that there are generous people of all nationalities. Why is philanthropy mainly being associate with the West? Isn’t it time to give the same kind of recognition and praise to philanthropists from emerging markets? Especially since top donors Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett are doing so. Or are Westerners, or at least parts of Western media, frightened by the prospect of being given charity from the East? What’s your opinion? Are Westerners happy about the world shifting from West to East even when it comes to donations? Or do some people like to cling on to the illusion that all good things come from the West?
Photo: Robert Scoble