Alibaba's Chinese billionaire co-founder donates coronavirus test kits to US

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma pledged to donate 500,000 testing kits and one million masks to America. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

The co-founder of Chinese online marketplace Alibaba (BABA) has sent a shipment of surgical masks and coronavirus test kits to the United States.

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma posted two pictures of pallets of the supplies being loaded on to a China Eastern Airlines jet in Shanghai.

Ma, who is Asia's richest person, pledged to donate 500,000 testing kits and one million masks to America earlier this month.

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The tweet read: “The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America.”

Ma is also dispatching medical supplies to Europe as he called for international cooperation efforts to combat the pandemic.

The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation pledged to send two million protective masks for distribution across Europe.

The first shipment of 500,000 masks and other medical supplies such as test kits, which was destined for Italy, touched down in Belgium on Friday.

They also said that they had already donated supplies to other countries including Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Spain.

Other high-profile technology executives have also promised financial aid for coronavirus research and to help stem the spread of the outbreak.

Read more: Germany shuts its borders as coronavirus paralyses public life

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world's second-richest person, has announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would give $100m (£81.3m) to efforts trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Several Chinese tech giants, including social media gaming company Tencent, ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, and ByteDance, owner of video sharing app TikTok, have all pledged money and resources to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

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