Move aside Richard Branson and Donald Trump, China’s self-billed top environmentalist and philanthropist, multimillionaire entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao (陈光标) is here to take over all the media limelight.
If you do not know who he is, this post will provide a short introduction.
Via China wiki:
Chen Guangbiao is the guy who rushed to the scene of the tragic Sichuan earthquake in 2008 with a fleet of 60 cranes and trucks in 36 hours, rescuing survivors and handing out cash to the homeless villagers. He spent 54 days in the quake-hit zone and donated more than 100 million yuan (US$15 million) for post-quake construction.
This is the same man who took out a half-page advertisement in the New York Times on August 31, 2012, saying, in both Chinese and English, that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China.
This is also the same person who gave away thousands of tins of air in China to raise awareness of China’s worsening air pollution.
In an open letter to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, he pledged to donate all his fortune to charity after his death. The duo made a trip to Beijing to talk about their Giving Pledge campaign, during which they asked the U.S.’s richest to pledge half their wealth to charity either during or after their lifetime, and help China start its own philanthropy community. Chen wrote to Buffet and Gates that it would be a shame to hoard his wealth, and he was pleased to accept the invitation.
Born in July 1968 into a family long inured in poverty, Chen witnessed the death of his brother and sister in his childhood. After the tragedy, the Jiangsu native decided to change his destiny. Chen garnered his gold nugget with his keen business sense after several setbacks and started prominent charity drives after his success. Chen is now the chairman of Jiangsu Huangpu Renewable Resources Utilization Co., Ltd., and is estimated to be worth US$510 million, according to Hurun Report’s 2010 speculation.
Chen Guangbiao is really intriguing isn’t he?
His life story reads like a graphic novel.
Other than being incredibly wealthy and ostentatious with his charitable acts, this guy also knows Shaolin kungfu (seriously)! Via a Guardian news article:
Chen makes Kim Kardashian look like Howard Hughes. The back cover of his book, Chen Guangbiao: As He Tells It, depicts him cradling a baby, fending off a media scrum and, for reasons less immediately obvious, serenading a herd of beribboned goats.
“I want to record the name of Chen Guangbiao in Chinese history,” he says.
He has the apparently unsinkable self-belief of Donald Trump, the publicity flair of Richard Branson and teeth as strong as the Bond villain Jaws: his party trick, demonstrated this morning, is to lift a bike using his teeth and spin it around in the air. The crowd grins. The cyclist looks furious.
It is, says Chen, all down to kungfu training at the famous Shaolin temple.
“If you put a brick on my head and break it, I will be fine,” he assures us.
Chen Guangbiao has his fair share of detractors and critics for his showy ways of doing charity, with some questioning his motivation and antics.
I support him though. After all, he is giving back to society. It is much better than many of the rich who hoards wealth.
The man will be in Singapore this week and I will have the rare opportunity to meet him in-person this Sunday. If you have any questions you would like to pose to Chen, email them to me and I will try my best to ask it for you. :)