camila June 4, 2021

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Meituan founder Wang Xing has donated a US$2.3 billion (S$3.05 billion) stake in the Chinese food delivery giant to his own philanthropic foundation, joining other Internet billionaires in giving back as Beijing mounts a crackdown on the tech sector.

Meituan’s chairman and chief executive officer has transferred 57.3 million shares to the organisation, the company said in a filing late on Thursday (June 3). That is about a 10th of the billionaire’s stake in the company, worth HK$17.6 billion (S$3 billion) based on its last close.

Meituan is grappling with an investigation by China’s antitrust watchdog, part of a broader campaign to curb the growing influence of Internet giants like Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings. In April, Tencent founder Pony Ma pledged US$7.7 billion toward curing societal ills and lifting China’s countryside out of poverty, echoing President Xi Jinping’s priorities at a time Beijing is tightening its grip on the sector.

Mr Wang last week unveiled detailed plans to address government concerns about its business practices, igniting a rally in the company’s stock. Meituan said that 9.35 million shares of the transferred stake had already been gifted to an unspecified third party.

“The changes regarding Wang Xing’s interest in shares of Meituan represent a personal asset allocation decision that was made out of philanthropic considerations,” the company said in a statement. “This decision does not reflect any changes in his dedication to Meituan’s business. The foundation to which the shares were donated will dedicate the funds to the education industry and scientific research.”