Alibaba's Jack Ma Raises Philanthropist Profile, Plugs Coronavirus Handbook

Alibaba's Jack Ma Raises Philanthropist Profile, Plugs Coronavirus Handbook

China billionaire businessman Jack Ma has made a big name for himself by turning start-up Alibaba Group into one of the world’s largest e-commerce businesses.  Now, he’s carving out an increasingly high-profile role as a philanthropist.

The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation today announced the publication of a digital handbook that shares lessons and experience from frontline doctors, medical administrators and staff in fighting the coronavirus in China.  The report focuses on the experience of the First Affiliated Hospital at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine. Eastern China’s Zhejiang Province is home to Ma and Alibaba.

The hospital over a 50-day period admitted 104 coronavirus patients, including 78 that were critical, and made it through the worst of the crisis without a single medical staff infection, missed diagnosis or patient death, according to a foundation statement.  “Today, with the spread of the global pandemic, these experiences are precious and the most-important weapon for medical personnel,” wrote Ma in a foreword in the handbook. “We hope that, with this handbook, doctors and nurses in other affected areas can learn from experience as they face this battle, without having to start from scratch.”

The announcement comes after Ma, the former Alibaba Group chairman and one of the world’s richest people, took to Twitter earlier this week to declare that a promised donation of one million face masks and 500,000 test kits for the U.S. was on the way.  “The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai,” Ma wrote on his recently created Twitter page. “All the best to our friends in America.”

“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus,” Ma said in a seperate statement. “We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!”

Ma, worth $39 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today, stepped down as chairman of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba in September to focus on philanthropy.

Ma’s warmth toward the U.S. comes amid one of the worst stretches in official U.S.-China relations in decades.  China yesterday announced the de facto expulsion of journalists from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.  Beijing infuriated U.S. officials this month with suggestions that the U.S. military last year planted the coronavirus in the country. A Gallup poll released earlier this month found China tied for first among Americans as the greatest U.S. enemy.



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