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Patriotic HK businessman donates personal wealth to Tsinghua

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: April 28, 2021 L M S


Cao Guangbiao (1920-2021) [Photo/ zj.zjol.com.cn]

Tsinghua University in Beijing received a generous donation, the total personal wealth of the late Hong Kong entrepreneur Cao Guangbiao, on April 25, which marked the university's 110th anniversary.

Cao passed away at the age of 101 in Hong Kong on March 12. His personal wealth was reportedly estimated at $850 million in 2004.

Tsinghua University has announced on its official website that it will use Cao's donation to establish the Tsinghua University Cao Guangbiao Memorial Fund, which will sponsor its educational reforms, scientific innovations, and international talent recruitment. 

Cao was born into a Ningbo immigrant family in Shanghai in 1920 and took over his father's woolen goods shop at the age of 17. He moved to Hong Kong in 1950 and gradually expanded his business into textiles, electronics, trade, tourism, precise instruments, as well as many other sectors there. Notably, Cao was among the co-founders of Hong Kong Dragon Airlines in 1985, which ended the monopoly of the former colony's airline market by British investors.

In November 1978, a textile factory invested in by Cao broke ground in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, making Cao the first ever Hong Kong businessman to invest in the Chinese mainland when China's reform and opening-up had just begun.

In 1997, Cao decided to acquire Ningbo Optical Instrument Factory, which had been going through financial difficulties, and he changed its name to Ningbo Novel Optics Co. The company is now a leading manufacturer of optical instruments in China, supplying optical components for the country's lunar probe projects.

Cao also made a series of donations in his ancestral hometown of Ningbo, sponsoring local kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools, and universities.

Cao started to make donations to Tsinghua University as early as 1996, when he spent HK$10 million setting up the Cao Guangbiao High-Tech Development Fund, the then largest individual donation that the university had ever received. He continued to donate millions of dollars to the university's multiple projects for decades and was awarded the honorary title of university board member in 2008 for his outstanding contributions.