Alibaba Group Holding’s founder Jack Ma, who has already donated US$2.15 million to an Australian institute to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine and 1 million masks to Japan, has now turned his attention to Europe.
Ma is donating food, face masks, and Covid-19 testing kits to Europe via Belgium, the first European member of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s Electronic World Trade Platform initiative, Yicai Global reported.
A food shipment has arrived at Liege Airport and 1.8 million face masks and 100,000 testing kits will follow soon, Ma wrote on his Weibo.
The goods are destined for those countries that have been severely hit by the Covid-19 outbreak such as Italy and Spain, the report said.
A 90-year-old coronavirus patent has died, the Belgian health minister said this week. The person had been treated in Brussels. The country had 267 cases by then. Meanwhile, Italy’s death toll rose to 631, the report said.
“Anti-epidemic materials’ cross-border transport has been difficult, but fortunately we have learned that the eWTP at Liege Airport is running well and can deliver epidemic prevention materials,” Ma added in his post.
In late 2018, Belgium became the first European nation to participate in the eWTP program to boost cross-border trade, the report said.
The planned eWTP hub, Liege Airport, has also sent face masks to China earlier by using Alibaba’s Cainiao Network delivery services, the report said.
Liege, which is located close to Brussels, has become a key node for Chinese e-commerce merchants who sell in Europe.
Meanwhile, Ma’s foundation signed an agreement on March 3 with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia to support the research and development of treatment options for the Covid-19 virus, the company said on its news website, Alizila.
A joint venture between the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Doherty Institute is a renowned center for scientific and medical research.
In January, its scientists became the first to successfully grow the novel coronavirus in laboratory cell culture outside of China – an achievement that has been instrumental in aiding better understanding and diagnoses of the virus globally.
Ma’s foundation also donated US$14.4 million to Chinese government research organizations to help find a vaccine and to support “prevention and treatment” measures, CNN reported.
(Editor’s note on March 17: The Jack Ma Foundation will donate medical supplies including testing kits, masks and protective suits to 54 African countries to assist their prevention and control of Covid-19. Each of the 54 African nations will receive 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields. The donated materials will be first delivered to Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, and distributed from there.)