Former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji is the first senior politician to be listed among the country’s top philanthropists, a survey shows.

Zhu Rongji, respected as an economic reformer, donated nearly $4 million from book royalties image www.acbocallcentre.com

According to wealth publisher Hurun’s Philanthropy List 2014, Mr Zhu last year donated 23.98 million yuan ($US4 million) in book royalties to low-income schools and students.

He ranked 60th on the 103-name list, after technology billionaires, property tycoons and investment gurus.

Mr Zhu, Chinese premier from 1998 to 2003, was known for his tough style with other officials but credited with pushing deep economic reforms.

China’s top 5 philanthropists

Name Donations $USm Company
Jack Ma 2,400 Alibaba
Huang Rulun 97 Century Golden Resources
Wang Jianlin & Wang Sicong 73 Wanda
He Xiangjian 68 Midea
Tang Lixin 52 Shinesun

Source: Hurun Research

The books that contributed to his donation were collections of transcripts of his speeches since the late 1980s, when he was mayor of Shanghai.

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Chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun report, Rupert Hoogewerf, said Mr Zhu’s contribution marks the first time a book royalty donation has made the list.

The former premier is among 71 new philanthropists this year – the highest since records began in 2004.

Mr Hoogewerf said the new names suggested charitable giving by the wealthy was still in its “early stages” in China.

“It shows that charitable donations are still in the early stages, but the fact we are seeing so many new faces shows me that the industry is developing and maturing,” he told the ABC.

“Also, it is worth bearing in mind that many donations are made on a one-off basis and thereafter, it is the foundation that makes the annual donations.”

China’s richest man and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, ranked as China’s most generous person, after he donated a 1.4 percent stake in his firm – worth about $2.4 billion – to set up an environment, healthcare and education charity.

Mr Ma’s personal wealth ballooned to $19.5 billion after Alibaba’s record-breaking initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September, according to Forbes magazine.

To compile the list, the Hurun Research Institute surveyed 3,000 of China’s most successful entrepreneurs and cross referenced with media reports and charitable foundations.

ABC/AFP

Henry Sapiecha

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