Alibaba did not give a value for the investment. The trust is being set up as Alibaba prepares for a highly anticipated initial public offering that could value the company at $151 billion, according to analysts. That would give the trust a value of $3.02 billion.
"It is impossible for me to be a doctor. But I can have my own way to save lives," Ma was quoted by the state news agency Xinhua as saying. Ma's personal fortune is worth around $8.9 billion, according to Forbes.
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Alibaba, founded 15 years ago by Ma, has cornered the Chinese Internet consumer market and expanded into everything from online auctions to messaging and payments.
Philanthropy in China has yet to take off, as some wealthy Chinese fear generous donations could invite unwanted attention on their fortunes. China ranks towards the bottom of the list of countries where people give money to charity, volunteer or help a stranger, according to The World Giving Index, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation.