Billionaire couple raises $42m for Chinese university
Tue, Mar 02, 2010
China Daily/Asia News Network

Billionaire Duan Yongping and his wife Liu Xin donated US$30 million (S$42.1 million) fundraising money to their alma mater Renmin University of China on Sunday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Forty-nine-year-old Duan, who ranked 71st on the Forbes rich list in 2003, received his master degree in Econometrics from Renmin University of China, and Liu also studied there majoring in journalism.

The philanthropist couple co-founded Xinping Foundation in 2008, a charity group focusing on education promotion. As for their latest endowment to Renmin University, US$15.5 million will be allotted for a Matching Gift Fund, an innovative method relatively new in China that will match donations by tertiary parties to the university, thus doubling its charity power.

Besides, US$10 million will be assigned for student loans, US$4 million for a new library and US$500,000 for a journalistic research fund.

This is not the first time the benevolent billionaire has splashed out on philanthropy.

In September 2006, Duan donated US$37 million, a record high at that time, to east China's Zhejiang University, where he studied wireless electronics engineering as an undergraduate from 1977 to 1982. And on May 14, 2008, two days after a devastating Sichuan earthquake wrecked southwest China, Duan contributed US$3 million for disaster relief.

Duan, born in east China's Jiangxi Province, created his business empire in electronic appliances in south China during the 1990s.

The entrepreneur catapulted then debt-ridden Subor (or "Xiao Ba Wang" in Chinese) into national fame as a top electronic manufacturer, and in 1995 founded BBK (or "Bu Bu Gao" in Chinese) Group, a heavyweight DVD-player producer, which later expanded into telephone and stereo devices.

In 2006, the Chinese tycoon won an online auction run by eBay Inc. for a chance to dine with billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The bidding price was US$620,100.

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