China’s richest man has donated 100million yuan (£11million, $14.4million) to help scientists develop the vaccine for a new strain of deadly coronavirus, which has rocked the Asian superpower and killed at least 133 people.
Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, announced the generous aid on Wednesday through his foundation as the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan accelerated.
Forty per cent of the endowment fund, or 40 million yuan (£4.4 million, $5.8 million), is due to be evenly split between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, whose experts are striving to create the inoculation.
The rest of the grant will support staff from research and scientific establishments in China and around the world in the control and prevention efforts of the coronavirus.
Chinese tycoons are flocking to help the Hubei government fight the lethal virus.
So far, more than 150 companies have given away a total of 4.5 billion yuan (£499million, $649million) to overcome the national health crisis, according to Chinese Entrepreneurs Magazine.
These firms include Pony Ma’s Tencent (£33million, $43million), Robin Li’s Baidu (£33million, $43million), Xu Jiayin’s Evergrande Group (£22million, $28million) and Ren Zhengfei’s Huawei (£3.3million, $4.3million).
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