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The Baidu Charitable Foundation and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (The Gates Foundation) founded a strategic charitable alliance on Saturday, in a bid to work for a healthy, smoke-free environment both in China and around the world.
Bill Gates joined forces with Robin Li, CEO of China’s answer to Google-Baidu during his second trip to China, to form a charitable organisation which will help people to quit smoking. Li received a link analysis patent in 1996 which would eventually make him one of China’s richest citizens and has said Gates had always been a role model to him even before he began Baidu.
He pledged that they will increase smokers’ awareness of the dangers of active and passive smoking. They also intend to spread the health alliance’s initiatives and health messages via online community. The open-ended public health alliance will be active in China and around the world.
The health consequences of the tobacco epidemic are very serious in China and smoking has become the top killer of the Chinese population. There are over 300 million smokers in China and it is estimated about 3.5 million Chinese will die each year from tobacco-related illnesses by 2030.
Smoking cessation has been one of Bill Gates’s long term health goals, having announced in 2008 already that he would spend $500 million to work towards reducing smoking around the world.
Microsoft is rumoured to be courting a deal with Baidu, the dominant search engine in China with more than 70% of the market, for Bing to take over Baidu’s English-language searches while Baidu does the same for Bing’s Chinese search queries.