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4 Taiwanese named as Forbes' most notable Asian philanthropists

TAIPEI -- Forbes magazine has named four Taiwanese in its annual list of the most notable philanthropists in the Asia-Pacific region for their efforts in developing talent, sponsoring research and promoting culture.

With an estimated fortune of US$4.48 billion, Samuel Yin (尹衍樑), chairman of Taiwanese conglomerate Ruentex Group (潤泰集團), is one of the four Taiwanese in Forbes' “48 Heroes of Philanthropy” list published Wednesday in the United States.

The 63-year-old donated US$14.6 million last year to Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Yang Ming University for developing medical talent, and another US$4 million to help the government promote Taiwanese culture abroad.

Yin also dedicated US$100 million to establish the Tang Prize, which recognizes leaders in four fields: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law.

The second Taiwanese in Forbes' list is Robert Yeh (葉寅夫), chairman of LED packaging house Everlight Electronics Co. (億光電子) The 63-year-old has contributed US$3.4 million toward the construction of a 13-story building in downtown Taipei for his alma mater — National Taipei University of Technology.

The third philanthropist is Lee Pong shong (李鵬雄), chairman of wood furniture manufacturer Fancy Wood Industries Public Co. (汎新工業), who started a foundation in 1997 in memory of his late father. The foundation is aimed at boosting Taiwan's public library system.

Lee, 64, has donated US$12 million to build four libraries, including US$4.3 million for a new branch in Taipei that features a collection of books on horticulture.

The last Taiwanese in Forbes' list is private investor Hsu Hang-chien (徐航健). The 71-year-old gave US$4 million last year to his alma mater, Tamkang University in Taipei. The university said it will use the donation, the largest it has ever received, to help build an international conference center.

For the eighth straight year, Forbes has spotlighted notable philanthropists in the Asia-Pacific region, especially those who made news in the past year by launching new and innovative projects.

The 48-member honor roll ranges from billionaires with expansive visions of how best to help society to less well-known business people whose generosity is also leaving a huge mark, according to the American business magazine.

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