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Xiaomi billionaire gifts record $182 million to China university

Lei Jun, the billionaire co-founder of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp., made a record cash donation to his alma mater, Wuhan University, adding to a surge in pledges by the nation’s richest.

Lei gifted the school 1.3 billion yuan ($182 million), the biggest ever cash donation to a Chinese university from an alumnus, according to the institution’s official Weibo account. The money will help support computer science innovations, students’ development and research on six fundamental disciplines, it said in a separate post.

Donations from rich Chinese have soared in recent years as President Xi Jinping pushes to close the wealth gap with his “common prosperity” campaign. In July 2021, Lei transferred $2.2 billion worth of Xiaomi shares to the Xiaomi Foundation and the Lei Jun Foundation.

Lei, 53, graduated from Wuhan University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science before starting his tech career. He landed a job at Chinese software maker Kingsoft Corp. and by 1998 was its chief executive officer. He then co-founded an online retailer that he sold to Inc. in 2004. Xiaomi started in 2010.

Lei is now worth of $14.3 billion, based on his stakes in tech firms including Xiaomi and Kingsoft, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Last week, Xiaomi reported its first revenue gain in almost two years as it expands aggressively into higher-end models at home and abroad. Bloomberg

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