Latest update: April 13, 2020
As with many others around the world, Asia’s business leaders and companies have stepped up to join the effort to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. They are addressing the outbreak on several fronts, as denoted by this roundup of notable contributions from across the region. The list encompasses the efforts of some of the wealthiest and most influential figures in Asia—billionaires, CEOs and other entrepreneurs, as well those by companies and even startups. Some are donating out of their pockets or through their businesses; others are converting facilities to address the evolving crisis; while those in biotech are busy ramping up production for testing kits or working to create a much-needed vaccine.
This is a developing story—Forbes Asia will continue to track and update the contributions of Asia’s business community. The list is sorted by two categories, one for Asia’s wealthiest individuals and another for Asian companies.
Gautam Adani: The Indian ports tycoon tweeted on March 29 that his foundation has pledged approximately $13.3 million to the Indian Prime Minister’s emergency fund. The Adani Group has also manufactured 120,000 masks.
Anil Agarwal: In March the metals and mining magnate from India behind Vedanta Group has pledged roughly towards fighting the spread of Covid-19.
Mukesh Ambani: The charitable foundation of his oil and gas giant Reliance Industries has set up India’s first Covid-19 center with 100 beds in Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai in March. Reliance is also producing 100,000 masks daily and providing free meals across multiple cities. Ambani has contributed $67 million to the Indian Prime Minister’s emergency fund. He also gave $660,000 to the relief fund of the chief minister of Maharashtra, Ambani’s home state, and $660,000 to a similar fund of Gujarat state, where Reliance’s largest refinery complex is located.
Ramon Ang: In March San Miguel Corp (SMC), owner of Philippine’s oldest brewery, has converted its plants to produce ethyl alcohol for sanitizing measures in hospitals and government units; thus far it has produced 642,000 liters of ethyl alcohol. Contributions of more than 800 million Philippine pesos ($16 million) will be made in the form of sanitizers, food staples and protective medical supplies for front line health workers; an additional 100 million pesos was personally donated by Ang to provide relief for Manila’s most vulnerable. SMC has also provided free expressway passes for medical workers as well as fuel for their shuttle services.
Jogi Hendra Atmadja: The Indonesian billionaire pledged in April that his food group, Mayora, would donate 1 million masks, 1 million water bottles and 1 million biscuit packs to medical frontliners across Indonesia.
Dhanin Chearavanont: The Thai billionaire’s Bangkok-based Charoen Pokphand group has launched several Covid-19 initiatives. His group invested $3 million in early April to build a factory in Bangkok to produce free 100,000 surgical masks per day to donate to healthcare workers. The group is also providing free food delivery to patients and staff in more than 40 hospitals across Thailand. To cope with rising demand, Charoen Pokphand Foods has expanded production capacity of staples such as eggs.
Adrian Cheng: The son of Hong Kong mogul Henry Cheng runs property giant New World Development, which has pivoted to start making face masks. Cheng announced on April 7 that the company would donate 10 million “Made in Hong Kong” masks to Hong Kong and overseas communities starting from the end of April once all four production lines are operational. In Hong Kong, masks will be distributed to low-income families and vulnerable communities through mask dispensers at local NGOs. The property firm also invested $1.3 million to research and develop new antibacterial and antiviral masks, donated another $1.3 million to help slow the spread of Covid-19 in Hong Kong and provided $7 million for relief efforts in Greater China.
Cheng Wei: His DiDi, China’s largest ride-sharing app, created a team of 1,336 voluntary drivers in January to provide emergency transportation for medical professionals in Wuhan. The company has provided masks and disinfectants to drivers and deployed similar teams in other Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen to help local hospitals.
Chung Mong-koo: In April South Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai Motor, which Chung chairs, is opening drive-through Covid-19 testing centers at 11 children’s hospitals in ten U.S. states and Washington, D.C. as well as providing $2.2 million in grants.
Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun: In a letter in April, Fernandes announced that he and his AirAsia cofounder Meranun will not be taking a salary during the crisis. Malaysia-based AirAsia will keep employees on staff but has reduced pay temporarily by up to 75%, depending on seniority.
Andrew Forrest: On April 8, the Australian mining billionaire announced he had donated roughly $324 million to his foundation with part of the funds going to the Covid-19 response as well as bushfire relief and other causes. His foundation had previously pledged up to $100 million for medical equipment and supplies as well as testing development for coronavirus.
Hinduja brothers: Since March their Indian truck manufacturer Ashok Leyland is supplying masks, gloves, hand wash, sanitizer and personal protective equipment to healthcare workers as well as generators to hospitals.
Ma Huateng: Chinese internet giant Tencent, which Ma chairs, set up a $100 million global anti-pandemic fund in March; the initial pool of funds will go toward medical equipment such as masks and ventilators for hospitals and healthcare workers worldwide.
Hui Ka Yan: In March his Chinese real estate developer Evergrande donated $115 million to fund a collaborative research initiative by Harvard University and China’s Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health; the funds will go toward research in testing, vaccines and therapies for novel coronaviruses.
Savitri Jindal & family: In March the Jindal family’s JSW Group, India’s leading producer of steel, has pledged approximately $13.3 million to the Prime Minister’s emergency fund. In addition, each JSW Group employee has committed at least one day’s salary as a donation to the fund. The company is also providing food to communities near its factories.
Uday Kotak: The Indian founder of Kotak Mahindra Bank has personally donated $3.3 million to the Indian Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-Cares) in March. The Bank has committed another $5 million with $3.3 million going to the prime minister’s fund and $1.3 million going toward the Maharashtra chief minister’s relief fund
Li Ka-shing: The Hong Kong tycoon donated $13 million to help Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, in February. His foundation has also distributed 250,000 face masks to social welfare organizations and homes for the elderly in Hong Kong. In April the Li Ka Shing Foundation teamed up with capsule hotel startup Bobobox and the Indonesian Doctors Association of West Java to donate 100 sleeping pods for hospital workers in Jakarta and West Java.
Robin Li: In February China’s largest search engine, Baidu, launched Wenyisheng (“Ask a Doctor”), a free telemedicine consultation platform to meet the demand for online health services. Baidu, which was cofounded by Li, says Wenyisheng facilitated more than 850,000 free medical consultations daily to Chinese users.
Lim Wee Chai: His Malaysian medical glove maker, Top Glove, one of the world’s largest, is ramping up production and has donated more than 5 million gloves to governments in China and Malaysia since January.
Jack Ma: The Alibaba cofounder has pledged $14 million to help develop a Covid-19 vaccine. On March 13 he announced he’s also donating 500,000 testing kits and 1 million face masks to the U.S., with the first shipment leaving Shanghai on March 15. Ma has sent medical supplies and tests to Italy as well as several other countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia. His foundation and Alibaba’s corporate foundation have also established the Global MediXchange for Combating Covid-19 to help doctors across the world share best practices during the pandemic. On April 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo thanked Ma, Joe Tsai, Counsel General Huang Ping and the Chinese government for facilitating a donation of 1,000 ventilators from China to the state of New York; the giving was part of a larger contribution by the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation, which donated 2.6 million masks, 170,000 goggles and 2,000 ventilators to New York, aiming to supply the state’s most underserved hospitals.
Anand Mahindra: The third-generation scion of India’s tractor and auto giant, Mahindra & Mahindra tweeted on March 22 that the conglomerate’s manufacturing facilities will begin work on producing ventilators. Mahindra also offered his hospitality company’s resorts as temporary care facilities and said he would donate his salary to create a fund for small businesses and the self-employed.
Anthony Pratt: His Pratt Foundation, based in Australia, donated A$1 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne for treatment trials, which started on April 6. The trials are testing two drugs and include 2,400 individuals; it will be conducted over two months through 60 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.
Azim Premji: The Indian tech magnate has committed $134 million through his foundation to the Prime Minister’s emergency fund. The Azim Premji Foundation also announced on April 1 that its 1,600 employees would collaborate with government and healthcare workers. Premji’s software developer Wipro Limited has pledged another $13 million and Wipro Enterprises Limited has committed $3.3 million.
Ren Zhengfei: Since March, Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies, led by Ren, has been donating medical supplies to health institutions in Europe and North America with 10,000 N95 masks, 20,000 isolation gowns, 50,000 medical goggles and 10,000 gloves going to hospitals in New York.
Peter Sondakh: In April the Indonesian billionaire’s investment firm, Rajawali Corpora, has donated funding to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Buddha Tzu Chi Indonesia Foundation, which seeks to raise 500 billion rupiah ($31 million) for testing kits, ventilators, masks and medical gowns. Rajawali has also supplied local provinces with protective equipment.
Sy Siblings: The siblings’ SM Prime, Philippines largest property developer, has waived rent charges for all tenants in its SM Supermalls from March 16 to April 14. SM has also allocated 100 million Philippine pesos ($1.9 million) to supply medical front liners with protective equipment such as masks, gowns, visors, gloves and shoe covers.
Tahir: In April The Indonesian tycoon and well-known philanthropist donated $3.2 million to assist ride-sharing drivers whose income has suffered as well as faith-based organizations. Tahir, the majority owner of the license to publish Forbes Indonesia, has also gifted S$500,000 ($350,000) to help marginalized individuals in Singapore who were most impacted by the pandemic. Other forms of contributions included protective equipment, which were sent to Beijing and Fujian province; and 1,000 daily meals for three months for workers in any of his properties in Jakarta.
Andrew Tan: Since March his Manila-based Alliance Global Group has donated 1 million liters of ethyl alcohol to help hospitals and government agencies with sanitizing measures. Alliance, which owns Emperador Inc, a brandy maker in the Philippines, says the donation will go to hospitals and medical institutions, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Min-Liang Tan: On April 1, Tan said that his Singapore gaming company Razer will setup, within 30 days, the country’s first fully automated mask production. Frasers Property said it would commit $50,000 to support Razer’s efforts; he was joined by two other Singaporean firms, JustCo and PBA Group, who also each gave $50,000. On the same day, Razer also pledged $50 million to help support its business partners during the pandemic. In a long Facebook post on March 18, Tan said the company will donate 1 million masks to governments.
Tony Tan Caktiong: Since March the Philippine billionaire’s Jollibee Group Foundation has donated 100 million Philippine pesos ($2 million) in the form of food packets, which will go to medical workers, checkpoint officers and other responders. Meals will be provided by a chain of restaurants owned or franchised by the group, including Jollibee, Chowking, Mang Inasal, Red Ribbon, Greenwich, Burger King, Panda Express, and Pho 24. Additional food, worth 120 million pesos, will be given to families who have been most impacted by the pandemic. The group has also allocated an emergency response fund of 1 billion pesos, which will cover employee salaries from March 15 to April 15, the duration of Philippines’ initial Enhanced Community Quarantine; staff will also be receiving their yearend mandatory 13th month salary by April 30.
Joe Tsai: The Alibaba executive and owner of NBA’s Brooklyn Nets tweeted on March 14 that hourly employees at the Barclays Center, where the Nets play, will be paid throughout May as if games were still in season. On April 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo thanked Tsai, Joe Ma, Counsel General Huang Ping and the Chinese government for facilitating a donation of 1,000 ventilators from China to the state of New York; the giving was part of a larger contribution by the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation, which donated 2.6 million masks, 170,000 goggles and 2,000 ventilators to New York, aiming to supply the state’s most underserved hospitals.
Manuel Villar: In March Philippine’s richest man, along with his family, has donated disinfectants, 200,000 surgical masks and a daily supply of water bottles to nine government hospitals. Villar, who chairs property developer Vista Land & Landscapes, is also working with the Department of Public Works and Highways and construction firm EEI to convert the Philippine International Convention Center into a medical facility for patients.
Tadashi Yanai & family: Announced in March, the Japanese billionaire’s Fast Retailing, parent company of Uniqlo and Theory, is donating 10 million masks to medical institutions in Japan and abroad with 1 million masks going to hospitals in New York.
Asia’s Private Sector
Ansell: In April the Australian protective equipment maker announced expanding production capacity to meet higher demand for its biohazard suits and gloves.
Ascletis: In March the Hangzhou-based pharmaceutical company announced results of clinical trials of its antiviral drug danoprevir on Covid-19 patients in China; the small-scale study found that “danoprevir combined with ritonavir is safe and well tolerated in all patients.”
Biolidics: Singapore-based medtech firm created and started marketing of a Covid-19 test kit in March. The test kit is now approved for sale in the EU and the Philippines, and received provisional authorization from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority. It is looking to gain approval for sale in the U.S. and elsewhere in Asia.
CanSino Biologics: Tianjin, China-based pharma company started clinical trials for its Covid-19 vaccine in March, using the vaccine technology deployed to develop the Ebola vaccine. On April 10, the firm entered phase II of testing.
Celltrion: The South Korean company is developing an antiviral treatment for Covid-19, with plans to start human trials in July; the company is also developing rapid self-testing kits that could provide results within fifteen to twenty minutes; it’s expected to roll out by the summer.
FPT Group: Vietnamese technology company FPT Group, is working with local finance and ride-hailing firms to take their businesses online. Through the use of AI and optical character recognition, FPT’s services remind consumers to pay their debts and scan through driver documents to speed up identification processes. FPT has also donated its 2,000-room university dorm for quarantine purposes and contributed $850,000 in medical equipment, such as ventilators and disinfectant supplies to the local government.
Fujifilm: At the end of March, the Tokyo-based company’s pharmaceutical arm, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, started phase III clinical trials of its flu drug Favipiravir on Covid-19 patients in Japan and is accelerating production.
GeneOne Life Science: Announced in March, South Korean vaccine maker is collaborating with researchers at Houston Methodist Hospital to develop an RNA vaccine for Covid-19.
Green Cross: South Korean biopharma company’s subsidiary GC Lab Cell has been developing cell therapy-based treatments for Covid-19 since March, with plans to begin human trials in the second half of the year.
Healthmatch: The Australian startup, which facilities clinical trials for medical firms, has set up a free global clinical trial tracker in March and is also allowing firms to use its platform for free to recruit trial patients to expedite Covid-19 research in Australia. The firm is headed by Forbes Asia’s Under 30 honoree Manuri Gunawardena.
I-Mab Biopharma: Shanghai-based biopharma outfit announced in March it would begin clinical trials of its TJM2 antibody treatment on Covid-19 patients in the U.S., with plans to expand to other countries affected by the pandemic.
Mesoblast: Since March the Australian medical firm has been working with authorities in the Australia, China, Europe and the U.S. to evaluate the use of its Remestemcel-L drug to treat Covid-19.
Ping An: The Chinese insurance firm said on April 3 that it is donating £1.1 million worth of medical supplies to the U.K. government such as test kits, protective clothing and ventilators.
Seegene: The South Korean biotech firm has ramped up production since February of its innovative Covid-19 test kits, which helped with the country’s rapid testing measures. He is ramping up exports of Seegene test kits to Europe and Asia. The firm has submitted the test to the U.S. FDA and is awaiting approval.
Serum Institute of India: Since February, the firm has joined the global race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Serum is co-developing two COVID-19 vaccines; one with U.S firm Codagenix and the other with Institut Pasteur in Paris and Austrian biotech firm, Themis.
SK Group: South Korean conglomerate’s pharmaceutical arm, SK Bioscience, has started conducting animal trials of its Covid-19 vaccine in March.
Takeda: Japanese medical firm started working on hyperimmune therapy in March, using blood plasma from previously infected patients.
Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals: Chinese pharmaceutical company announced positive results from trials of its flu drug Favipiravir on Covid-19 patients in Shenzhen and Wuhan in March; the company is supplying the drug to authorities in China and several foreign countries.
With additional reporting by Pamela Ambler, Hayley Cuccinello, Justin Doebele, Naazneen Karmali, Alex Konrad, Atika Lim, Robert Olsen, Anuradha Raghunathan, Giacomo Tognini, Will Yakowicz, and Forbes Indonesia, a licensee edition of Forbes Media.