China's rich have acquired many of the tastes of the Western rich: art, Gulfstream jets, DRC Burgundy, and Hermes bags. But Bill Gates says they haven't embraced one of the most important: philanthropy.
Last year, China's top 100 philanthropists donated a mere $890 million, according to the Hurun Report. America's top 50 donors, by contrast, gave away $7.7 billion last year.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife gave away more last year—just under $1 billion—than all 100 of China's top philanthropists.
So it's not surprising that Gates is publicly asking the Chinese rich to do more.
"When you have something like a disaster (in China) you see the basic generosity, but if you look at systemic things like giving to health causes, giving to universities to do research, giving to handicapped people, it's not there yet," Gates told Reuters in Singapore.
He said the Chinese government should consider philanthropy-friendly policies, like tax deductions.
We'll see how the Chinese rich react. In 2010, Gates and Warren Buffett invited 50 of China's richest people to a philanthropy dinner and about a third turned down the invitation.
—By CNBC's Robert Frank.