Hong Kong-When the initial public offering of Jack Ma’s company Alibaba Group broke a new record at $25 billion in September 2014, the Chinese businessman and his e-commerce juggernaut were catapulted onto the world stage. Ma has not only become an undisputed titan of business in a relatively short time, making Time magazine’s list of 100 people who most affect our world, he has thrown himself equally into philanthropic pursuits, taking up the mantle of corporate social responsibility.
Zeng Fanzhi and Jack Ma in front of the present lot
In April of this year, Ma co-founded The Paradise International Foundation along with several prominent Chinese entrepreneurs and artists including Pony Ma, the founder of China’s top internet company Tencent, and painter Zeng Fanzhi. The foundation’s focus, ecological protection both in and outside of China, is a cause that is near and dear to the tech mogul’s heart – he is also Chinese Council President of The Nature Conservancy, an American organisation with global reach. Recently Ma paid $23 million for a sprawling 28,100-acre parcel of land (Brandon Park) in New York’s Adirndacks, which he will dedicate foremost to be nature conservancy.
Ma collaborated in 2014 with fellow The Paradise International Foundation co-founder Zeng Fanzhi to paint Paradise, a potent symbol of the environment and one that they hope will be a reminder of the purity of the earth and our responsibility to preserve it. In Paradise the earth appears as if from space, with passages of white encroaching onto the striking blues and greens of the canvas, an allusion to our rapidly disappearing icecaps.
The collaborative work will be sold at Sotheby’s on October 4th at the Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Evening Sale. The proceeds from the sale of their painting will benefit The Paradise International Foundation.