Alibaba to invest $15.5 bn in support of common prosperity

E-commerce major Alibaba Group will invest 100 billion yuan or $15.5 billion by 2025 in support of common prosperity.
Alibaba and technology
China President Xi Jinping has been encouraging companies to share wealth as part of the effort to ease inequality in the world’s second-largest economy.

Other companies that have made similar announcements include Tencent Holdings, which also pledged 100 billion yuan, and Geely Automobile.

The government-backed Zhejiang News website said Alibaba’s funds will go towards areas such as subsidies for small and medium-sized enterprises and improving insurance protection for gig economy workers such as couriers and ride-hailing drivers.

Alibaba will also set up a 20 billion yuan common prosperity development fund.

Alibaba and its tech rivals have been the target of a wide-ranging regulatory crackdown on issues ranging from monopolistic behaviour to consumer rights. Alibaba was fined a record $2.75 billion in April over monopoly violations, Reuters reported.

The sector has attracted criticism for the 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 — owned by Alibaba — were among operators called to a meeting last month with government regulators on improving safety and labour rights for delivery workers.