Gates, Buffett on charity banquet with China's super-rich

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The Chinese wealthy have "no reluctance" to talk about philanthropy, said U.S billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Thursday at a press conference in Beijing.

The two chaired a close-door charity banquet with about 50 Chinese wealthy in Beijing Wednesday night.

"About 25 to 30 people among the guests talked about philanthropy. We talked about our own experiences in the U.S.," Buffett said.

"Great changes have taken place since my trip to China 15 years ago," Buffett said.

Gates echoed there were "not so many rich people" then.

"China now has the second largest number of billionaires in the world," he said.

He said it "incredible" that the topic of philanthropy came up soon in China as well, while Buffett was "amazed last night" at the similarity between Chinese and U.S. riches in their views about charity.

However, Gates noted that most of Chinese billionaires were the first generation in their family to accumulate wealth. They were not very familiar with the charity work, which was still at an early stage in China, he added.

"Now rich people in China are thinking what to do with children and society, how to arrange and organize their fortune, how to spend it. That is a timely question," Gates said.

Buffett was also aware that Chinese wealthy were worried that their motives of charity donations could be misunderstood by the public, and they had privacy concerns -- will their names appear on newspaper? How would people talk about it?

Both Gates and Buffett believed exchanges among philanthropists were important in China to promote charity.

One can learn constantly by exchanging experiences of success and failure, Gates suggested.

"We can tolerate failure," Buffett said. "Learning to have tolerance is a part of philanthropy education."


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