Jack Ma pledges $14.5 million to help fight coronavirus

Jack Ma, Alibaba (BABA) founder and China’s richest man, has donated 100 million yuan ($14.4 million) through his foundation to help find a vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus.

The donation follows an announcement on Saturday by Alibaba that it is setting up a 1 billion yuan ($144 million) fund to buy medical supplies for Wuhan and Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus outbreak.
The company is also offering free AI computing power to scientific research organizations to support the search for a vaccine or treatments.

“We know that the battle between humanity and disease is a long journey,” the foundation said in a post on its Twitter-like Weibo account. “This money will help various medical research efforts and help disease prevention.”

China’s tech industry has responded rapidly to an outbreak that’s infected thousands and killed more than 150 around the globe. Pony Ma’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. donated 300 million yuan of goods and will provide mapping and data services; ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is ferrying medical workers in designated vehicles across certain cities; Robin Li’s Baidu Inc. and TikTok owner ByteDance Inc. are contributing financial aid.

While Ma and his industry have been accused of foisting extreme overtime on its employees, many companies like Tencent have extended the Lunar New Year holidays by a week or more in the wake of the outbreak.

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