Although philanthropy is new to China, money managers and financial services firms doing business in the emerging economy stepped up quickly to respond to the massive earthquake that hit the southwest province of Sichuan on May 12.
We feel we have a social responsibility given the sheer magnitude of the tragedy, said Andrew Lo, chief executive officer of Invesco Asia Pacific in Hong Kong. We didn't want to stand by and do nothing.
Invesco, which has about 150 employees in China and 150 in Hong Kong, wants to raise $1 million for relief efforts in China with contributions from the company and employees. The company will make an initial contribution of $250,000 and will match employee contributions.
Mr. Lo said Invesco's business in China and Hong Kong is a very, very fast growing part of the company, with approximately $20 billion invested there. The company has three businesses in China: Invesco Great Wall, a joint venture with Huaneng Power International Inc., the largest power company in China; an asset management business that is a unit of Invesco in the U.S.; and Invesco Real Estate.
With domestic and foreign businesses growing rapidly, an increased emphasis on performance has taken hold in China, Mr. Lo said. While building relationships and trust was the most important aspect of doing business in China 10 years ago, now that's just one of the factors, he said.
Mr. Lo said 24-hour television coverage has led to the outpouring of aid from the people in China and Hong Kong to relief efforts. It's a change from other tragedies, such as the SARS outbreak, when companies and individuals were largely quiet or did nothing in terms of philanthropy, Mr. Lo said.
It's been quite eye opening ... It's quite a beginning in terms of philanthropy in China, Mr. Lo said.
Wilbur Ross, chairman and CEO of W.L. Ross & Co., New York, and chairman of Invesco Private Capital, is one of the co-chairs of the China Institute-China Relief Fund.
I know (Mr. Ross) has been watching the trade tensions between the U.S. and China, Mr. Lo said. Given this earthquake, the donations are a nice people-to-people gesture. It's helping bring international business together to offset some of the China bashing that has been going on.
Other money managers are donating to relief efforts in China and Myanmar (which was hit by a cyclone on May 2), but more so in China, where they have business relationships and employees. Invesco has not donated to relief efforts in Myanmar.
Principal Financial Group, State Street Corp., Prudential Financial Inc., ING Group, J.P. Morgan Chase and Invesco Ltd. are among those that have made contributions.Libby Jacobs, community relations director at Principal, Des Moines, Iowa, said the company's foundation donated $125,000 to earthquake relief efforts in China, matching a $125,000 donation the group's joint venture with China Construction Bank had made.
Ms. Jacobs said the company strives to be a good corporate citizen in countries where it does business or has a significant employee presence. The company has about 110 employees in China. None of the employees was injured, Ms. Jacobs said.
The foundation has not made donations specifically for Myanmar relief efforts because the company has no employee or business presence there. That drives it, Ms. Jacobs said. We do have a finite budget.
State Street Foundation, the charitable grant-making arm of State Street Corp., Boston, donated $550,000 to the American Red Cross International Relief Fund, with $400,000 designated for China and $150,000 designated for Myanmar.
In addition, State Street officials said the company would match employee gifts up to $100,000 for both disasters.
As a global corporation with offices throughout Asia, including China, we have a responsibility to help the thousands of people in need across the region, George A. Russell Jr., president of the State Street Foundation, said in a news release.
The Prudential Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Prudential Financial, Newark, N.J., donated $150,000 to the American Red Cross fund, and the company's asset management joint venture with Everbright Securities, Everbright Pramerica Fund Management Co. Ltd., Shanghai, donated 1 million renminbi ($144,000) to support relief efforts in China.
Our contribution will support relief efforts in the affected areas, John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, said in a news release announcing the donation.
ING Group donated e100,000 ($156,400) to the Red Cross fund and will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar if donations were pledged through the ING Chances for Children program with UNICEF. ING Shanghai raised 44,150 renminbi ($6,364) and added 80,000 RMB from funds pooled in ING Chances for Children foundation, bringing the total amount donated to 124,150 RMB. ING Americas also donated $100,000 to relief efforts in China.
The devastation in the affected areas is overwhelming, Rhonda Mims, president of the Atlanta-based ING Foundation, said in a news release. We realize that we have a corporate responsibility to help empower the communities in which we operate and our employees live.
ING Group also pledged to donate e100,000 to the Myanmar cyclone relief efforts.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., New York, said it would donate $300,000 and match employee contributions up to $100,000 for relief efforts in China and Myanmar. Of the $300,000, $200,000 went to the American Red Cross for efforts in China and $100,000 went to CARE International for Myanmar.
In addition, JPMorgan employees and the company in Asia contributed more than $400,000 to the non-profit China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, for food, water and supplies. Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of people affected by these disasters, Gaby Abdelnour, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan in the Asia Pacific, said in a release. Our first priority is to assist in immediate humanitarian relief efforts and to identify ways of assisting in the longer term to help people rebuild their lives and communities. ?