Bill Gates Meets Alibaba’s Ma to Discuss Philanthropy

Bill Gates and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma met in Beijing to talk about charity, according to a post by the world’s richest man on Twitter today.

Ma, who set up a charity trust potentially worth more than $3 billion in April, threw a dinner for Gates on June 17, according to the official Weibo microblog account of property developer Ren Zhiqiang, who was present. The event, attended by other Chinese businessmen, was held to discuss charity prospects in China, according to Ren’s Weibo post, which included photos.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Chairman Ma, who has an estimated worth of about $12.6 billion, set up a charitable trust with co-founder Joseph Tsai in April, using share options that amount to about 2 percent of the e-commerce company’s equity. The former English teacher’s company is marching toward what may be the largest initial public offering in the U.S., with an estimated valuation of $168 billion, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg in April.

“Got to meet with Alibaba’s Jack Ma in Beijing to talk philanthropy -– great conversation,” said Gates on his post on Twitter today.

Ma stepped down as Alibaba’s chief executive officer in May last year, saying he planned to focus on environmental protection and education. He and 17 others had founded Alibaba as an online marketplace for Chinese companies in 1999.

Florence Shih, a spokeswoman for Alibaba, declined to comment on the meeting with Gates.

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