Alibaba announced over the weekend its new HK$1 billion (US$129 million) not-for-profit Alibaba Hong Kong Young Entrepreneurs Foundation.
It has been established to support the career and entrepreneurial aspirations of young people in Hong Kong.
“With a mission to make it easy to do business anywhere, Alibaba is passionate about fostering entrepreneurial spirits amongst young people,” Jack Ma, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group said in a statement.
“We hope to create life-changing opportunities so that Hong Kong’s young people can build thriving businesses that will serve as a bridge between Hong Kong and mainland China,” he added.
The Chinese e-commerce giant said the foundation will offer capital and training. A team of investment managers and operating advisors will run the selection and funding side. Profits will be re-invested in the foundation.
A ‘core mission’ will be to help Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in the Alibaba ecosystem. Products and services will gain exposure not just in Hong Kong, but also in the mainland China market.
“The Foundation will select 200 young people each year from Hong Kong universities to intern at Alibaba Group and other businesses within its ecosystem. This will give an opportunity to university graduates to gain first-hand experience working in mainland China,” the group said.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Alibaba is also planning to set up a foundation for Taiwan.
Alibaba’s relationship with Hong Kong has sometimes been complicated. Before Alibaba went public in the US last year in a record US$25 billion initial public offering, the company had initially been considering an IPO in Hong Kong. But Hong Kong’s stock exchange didn’t accept Alibaba’s proposed corporate structure that gave its senior executives the right to nominate the majority of its board.
The South China Morning Post reported that the new fund would not exclude students and young entrepreneurs who took part in the pro-democracy protests that have swept the city since September 2014. Read more…