Zhang Yiming, founder and CEO of TikTok-owner Bytedance, has donated $10 million to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for research and development of treatment for the novel coronavirus disease, media outlet Sina Tech reported.
The donation was made to a project named “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator,” which was launched in March as a $125 million fund with the goal of identifying potential treatments for COVID-19, accelerating their development, and preparing for their mass production.
The “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” project was initially backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Welcome Trust, and Mastercard, pledging $50 million, $50 million, and $25 million respectively. In March and April, it also attracted a $25 million donation from Facebook’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and $20 million from Dell founder Michael Dell.
“Philanthropic, government and private sector organizations, as well as individuals like Zhang Yiming demonstrate the wide array of donors who understand the value of collaboration in developing effective drugs to help turn the tide of this pandemic,” Trevor Mundel, president of the global health division at the Gates Foundation, told Forbes.
Prior to the $10 million donation, Zhang Yiming also personally donated 100 million yuan to medical workers combating the coronavirus in China. As of the end of April, Bytedance and its employees have donated a total of 415 million yuan to medical workers via a fund that it formed with the China Red Cross Foundation (CRCF).
As of writing, the fund has given 100,000 yuan of relief per person to 3545 medical professionals who have contracted the coronavirus treating COVID-19 patients, and 1 million yuan per person to the families of 58 medical workers who have died in the line of duty during the pandemic, according to an announcement on CRCF’s official website.
Bytedance has also started several initiatives on its short-video apps Douyin (chinese version of TikTok) and Xigua Video, as well as content aggregator Jinri Toutiao that gives small and medium-sized businesses more exposure and helpa them improve sales. The company has spent close to 600 million yuan on helping the economy get back on track, according to Chinese media estimates.