Images from a charitable virtual gallery are displayed on a smartphone screen. (CHINA DAILY)
Internet players roll out an array of web events to help good causes
Charity not only begins at home, it is also thriving on the internet.
The big two online companies, Alibaba and Tencent, have come up with an array of web events to help a variety of good causes.
Last year, donations to charities topped 82 billion yuan (.49 billion), a tenfold jump compared with a decade ago, the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported.
"In the era of big data, China's charitable causes are likely to leapfrog and rival the level of developed nations," said Wang Ming, head of the Institute for Philanthropy at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
"It will no longer be confined to a certain group of public benefit organizations as it will become a common practice for everybody," Wang added.
Tencent, which is known for its iconic messaging app WeChat, has helped pioneer high-profile fundraising by mobilizing its 1 billion active users for an annual online charity day gala on Sept 9.
In the lead-up, an art sale for special needs people went viral on WeChat's Moments feature.
Paintings by young artists suffering from autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome were sold in a virtual gallery. Brief biographies of the artists were also included.
To buy a high-resolution photograph of a painting, users simply had to click on the picture to authorize a 1 yuan payment before sharing the image with friends and contacts through their Moments feature.
A QR Code attached to each image even encouraged micro-donations of under 1 yuan.
In the end, it was a stunning success. Just after the sale started, Tencent reported it had reached its target of 15 million yuan.
But then this was just the curtain raiser for the internet gaming giant's annual charity day with 12.68 million users donating 830 million yuan to "good causes", according to the company.
"It was an impressive (piece of) motivation," said Wang Zhiyun, secretary-general of the Shanghai United Foundation, a charitable organization.
"But when philanthropy becomes routine for people in China, we will encounter less 'campaign-like' days and more daily participation," Wang added.