Major Chinese tech firms are extending a helping hand to northern China’s Shanxi Province, which has been devastated by heavy downpours and floods. Monetary donations by tech companies have reached RMB 350 million (USD 54.2 million) so far. The enterprises are also offering other services to assist individuals who have been caught in the storm and ensuing floods.
So far, Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi, Alibaba Group, Ant Group, ByteDance, NetEase, Pinduoduo, Vipshop, Oppo, Vivo, and Didi have all chipped in to provide financial assistance, according to media reports.
These companies were quick to respond when the floods hit Shanxi, echoing a call by the Chinese government for profitable tech giants to take on additional social responsibility and heed President Xi Jinping’s message to foster “common prosperity.” The philanthropic outlay is taking place at a time when regulators are tightening oversight over technology companies.
Major platforms have become crucial tools during times of disaster, as long as internet connections are not severed. A Tencent document circulated by volunteers, aptly titled “Shanxi Flood Life Saving Document,” is a crowdsourced spreadsheet that contains information about disaster shelters, rescue teams’ contact information, ways to request help, and notes about what people need in various areas hit by disaster. The document is constantly updated by people who are in Shanxi to reflect the most recent conditions on the ground.
Similarly, ByteDance has launched a Shanxi rainstorm information page on Toutiao, a popular news and content aggregator, listing urgent supplies and matching them with people in need.
Tech companies performed similar actions in July, when central Henan Province was devastated by heavy floods. Amap, an Alibaba subsidiary that provides map services, added a feature where users could share emergency information in the app to warn others about dangerous areas.
Chinese tech giants rushed to offer more than RMB 1 billion (USD 154 million) in donations during the Henan flood disaster.
Torrential rains have been falling on Shanxi since the beginning of October. According to an official statement from the government of Shanxi Province on Sunday, this round of heavy rains and subsequent flooding have damaged crops and roads. The severe weather has affected more than 1.75 million people in 11 cities in the province, including 120,000 people who were forced to evacuate their homes.