Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates (R) receives an
interview with China's Xinhua News Agency on the sidelines of the 2015
Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, March
Bill Gates is eyeing the creative
potential that China has to offer, ranging from super rice to convenient
vaccine storage facilities for remote areas.
The former president of Microsoft told Xinhua that the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, which he co-chairs with his wife, is
cooperating with Chinese innovators, during an exclusive interview at
the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia.
He said the foundation, which was established in 2000, was working
with high-tech companies in China on research in areas such as
productive rice and vaccine freezing.
"We are investing more and more money and have a lot of specific
partnerships growing," Gates said, identifying agriculture as a
particular area that offered many opportunities.
"We were partner on the Green Super Rice [project], which is valuable not only here but also in Africa," he said.
He mentioned another project with the Chinese fridge maker Aucma that
was looking into portable storage for vaccines, and another research
project on how to limit pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the
These are projects that the entire world needs solving, Gates said.
"China's capacity for biological and IT breakthroughs is growing very
rapidly, and China is in many way the world agriculture leader. There
are many areas that we are not funding that have the potential to help
other countries," he said.
After leaving the corporate business world more than a decade ago, the richest man in the world threw himself into charity work.
The Seattle-based foundation focuses on health and poverty in developing countries.
Last year, it distributed 3.9 billion U.S. dollars in grants.
Without disclosing how much the foundation would channel into China,
Gates said the foundation was increasing its presence in the country
where the government is stimulating innovation with no efforts spared.
In addition, the foundation's talent incubator, Grand Challenges,
will hold its annual conference in China for the first time later this
"We are challenging scientists in China to help find solutions for the poor," Gates said.
Since the competition began 11 years ago, 21 Chinese innovators have had their ideas funded by the foundation.
"We would like to see that number increase," Gates said. "So far China only accounts for 5 percent of submissions."
In 2014, two Chinese projects, one on rapid detection of tuberculosis and another on thinner condoms, won the challenges.
China has identified innovation as a new driver of the economy. The
central government earlier this week published a plan outlining how mass
innovation would be stimulated.
It is great that the government is backing research and creating a
framework for entrepreneurs, as this is exactly what it needs, Gates
Gates met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday in Boao to discuss public health and poverty reduction.