The Education Bureau of Longyan City in Fujian Province announced on May 4th that Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, a Chinese tech giant, donated an extra 200 million yuan ($28.9 million) to the Fangmei Education Development Fund. The funds will be utilized for public welfare projects such as vocational and art education in the city. This donation brings the total size of the fund to 700 million yuan.
Zhang, aged 40, was born in Yongding District of Longyan City in Fujian Province. In March of this year, the Hurun Research Institute released a rich list where Zhang ranked 34th globally with a net worth of 250 billion yuan and third in China.
On June 22, 2021, the Fangmei Education Development Fund was established with a generous donation of 500 million yuan from Zhang. The fund aims to enhance the quality of education and foster exceptional talents in his hometown. It is named after Zhang’s grandmother and maternal grandmother.
The fund was established just one month after Zhang resigned as CEO of ByteDance. At that time, he wrote a company-wide letter stating that the company had made progress in social responsibility and public welfare. He mentioned ongoing projects such as education charity, brain disease research, and digitization of ancient books. He also disclosed his personal investment in these initiatives and expressed his desire to be more deeply involved with his own ideas.
Zhang has been supporting his hometown’s education cause for some time now. In September 2020, he donated 10 million yuan to Longyan Yongding No.1 Middle School, where he studied, for the construction of a science and technology art museum and teaching building. The recent establishment of the Fangmei Education Development Fund is another example of his commitment to improving education in his community.
Zhang supports his hometown education generously, and gives back to his alma mater Nankai University by supporting entrepreneurial projects initiated by teachers and students. In October 2019, Zhang donated 100 million yuan to establish an innovation fund at the university. In June 2021, Yixiaoxiang, an online chess education brand, announced that it had completed Pre-A round financing with investment from the innovation fund. The core teaching team of Yixiaoxiang mainly consists of champions in various chess competitions who graduated from the university. Additionally, Zhang donated 10 million yuan to support the construction of school faculty and talent teams through the “Nankai Talent Construction Fund”.