In a pledge to support the initiative driven by President Xi Jinping, Alibaba Group has become the latest corporate giant to invest 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) by 2025 for the cause of “common prosperity”.
Beijing 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 in the past include Tencent Holdings, which also pledged 100 billion yuan, and Geely Automobile.
According to the government-backed Zhejiang News website, 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.
It will also set up a 20 billion yuan “common prosperity development fund“, the newspaper said, which was also confirmed by Alibaba.
Alibaba and its tech rivals have been at the receiving end 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.
The e-commerce sector has also attracted criticism for the treatment of delivery workers and ride-hailing drivers, as most of them are not covered by basic social and medical insurance.