Move comes after a government call to share the wealth as part of a drive to ease inequality
China’s Alibaba Group will invest 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) by 2025 in support of “common prosperity,” to pledge support for the initiative led by President Xi Jinping.
Recently, the Chinese government encouraged companies to share wealth as part of an effort to alleviate inequality in the world’s second-largest economy. Tencent Holdings, which pledged 100 billion yuan, Geely Automobile, and other tech companies also made similar announcements.
The government-backed Zhejiang News website said Alibaba’s funds will go towards subsidies for small and medium-sized businesses and improving insurance protection for gig economy workers such as couriers and ride-hailing drivers.
According to the source, a 20 billion yuan “common prosperity development fund” will also be established.
The e-commerce giant and its tech rivals have been the target of an extensive regulatory crackdown on issues ranging from monopolistic behavior to consumer rights. Alibaba received a record $2.75 billion fine in April for monopoly.
The industry has also drawn criticism for its treatment of delivery workers and ride-hailing drivers, most of whom are not covered by basic social and medical insurance.
Food delivery platform Ele.me and supermarket operator Freshippo, both owned by Alibaba, were among the operators called to a meeting last month with government regulators to improve the safety and rights of delivery workers.
Featured image (Alibaba Center in Binjiang Hangzhou)