Chen Yidan, AKA Charles Chen, is a Chinese internet entrepreneur and philanthropist.
In 2006, Chen began leading the company’s newly established Tencent Charity Foundation. In March 2013, Chen stepped down as Tencent’s CAO but continues to work with the foundation as an advisor, sponsor and honorary chairman. September 2018 saw the fourth round of the foundation’s “99 charity day.” According to data from Tencent, during the three-day event, more than 28 million individual donations were made by loving netizens, who raised 830 million yuan through Tencent’s public platform, and more than 2,000 enterprises donated 185 million yuan to support 5,498 charity projects. The Tencent Charity Foundation provided 299.99 million yuan in matching funds, and another 100 million to a growth fund for charity organizations. The total amount of donations exceeded a whopping 1.414 billion yuan.
In the same year that he stepped down from Tencent, Chen founded the Chen Yidan Foundation. The Foundation is devoted to supporting projects in the field of cultural belief and heritage, ethics education and life wisdom education. It implements two flagship projects, the “Heart of Purity” and the “Heart of Maple Tree”.
The former supports educational projects, focusing on traditional culture and education and the latter supports cultural projects, focusing on non-material cultural heritage protection.
In May 2016, Chen launched the Yidan Prize, funded by an independent trust of HK $2.5 billion (US $320 million). The Prize’s mission is to create a better world through education and consists of two awards: Yidan Prize for Education Research and Yidan Prize for Education Development. The Yidan Prize Laureate receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million), half of which is to be used as a project fund.
Chen was acknowledged as one of China’s top philanthropists of 2015 by the China Philanthropy Institute at Beijing Normal University. Then in 2016, he was recognized on the China Charity Ranking List after donating US $45 million to charitable causes and in June 2017, he was named as one of China’s top philanthropists by Forbes on their list of Asia’s 2017 Heroes of Philanthropy.