Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma just pledged to donate 500,000 coronavirus tests and 1 million face masks to the US as shortages mount
- On Friday, Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, pledged to donate 500,000 testing kits for the novel coronavirus and one million medical face masks to the United States.
- The gift could help alleviate a shortage of testing materials that has contributed to the US falling behind every other developed nation on the number of tests performed per capita.
- Ma previously pledged over $16 million to support the development of a vaccine for the virus.
- The novel coronavirus has infected more than 128,000 people and killed nearly 4,700 worldwide, including 40 Americans.
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The United States is facing a shortage of testing kits and medical face masks as the coronavirus continues to spread, but Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma has stepped in to help.
In a statement released by his charitable foundation Friday, Ma said he worked to collect the scarce medical supplies for weeks. While the statement did not specify where in the United States the tests and masks would go, they could help alleviate a shortage of testing materials that has contributed to the US falling behind other nations on the number of tests performed per capita.
"Drawing from my own country's experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus," Ma said in a statement released by his charitable foundation on Twitter Friday morning. "At this moment, we can not beat the virus until we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons."
After being first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the novel coronavirus has infected over 128,000 people worldwide and 4,700 people have died, mainly in China. The US has reported at least 1,676 cases and confirmed 40 coronavirus deaths: 31 in Washington state, four in California, two in Florida, and one each in New Jersey, Georgia, and South Dakota. Experts say the virus could be even more widespread than the data indicates as the United States has fallen behind every other developed nation on the number of tests performed per capita.
This is not Ma's first attempt to provide relief. On January 30, the billionaire pledged 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) to "support the development of a coronavirus vaccine." Ma later donated an additional $2.15 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia, to help fund the development of a vaccine.
Ma was crowned Asia's richest man Thursday after one of the largest single-day drops in market history, Fortune reported. The previous title holder, India's Mukesh Ambani, lost over $5 billion in the market tumult while Ma lost only $1.1 billion. Ma built his $42.7 billion fortune after founding e-commerce giant Alibaba. He spent two decades as the company's chairman before retiring with an elaborate 60,000-person celebration held in an Olympic stadium last year.
"We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!" Ma said in the statement announcing the donation.
Get the latest Alibaba stock price here.
Through a donation of 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks, we join hands with Americans in these difficult times. pic.twitter.com/tGviVhC6Gx- Jack Ma Foundation (@foundation_ma) March 13, 2020
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