Chinese billionaire Jack Ma tweeted for the first time ever to say he's started shipping 1 million masks and 500,000 coronavirus testing kits to the US

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Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma.

Ruben Sprich/Reuters

  • Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma announced on Friday his charitable foundation would donate 500 million coronavirus testing kits and 1 million face masks to the US.

  • Ma joined Twitter this month, and sent his first tweet on Saturday to say the first shipment of aid supplies was on its way from Shanghai.

  • Ma previously pledged $14.5 million towards the development of a vaccine against the virus.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

China's richest man appears to be following through on his promise to donate materials to the US to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma pledged on Friday to donate 500 million virus testing kits and 1 million face masks to the US.

Ma tweeted Sunday to say the first shipment of masks and kits was ready to fly out of Shanghai. It's the first time the billionaire has ever posted to Twitter.

 

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His announcement did not specify where in the US the masks and tests were destined.

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Ma also pledged 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) towards the development of a vaccine in late January. And earlier in March, the billionaire donated a further $2.15 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia, again with a view towards developing a vaccine.

Ma is far from the only billionaire to pour money into fighting the coronavirus. Bill and Melinda Gates pledged $100 million through their charitable foundation in February, and the Gates Foundation is funding a scheme to distribute at-home testing kits in Washington State.

The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative — the philanthropic organization founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan — announced it has formed a coronavirus "task force" and is funding the purchase of new COVID-19 diagnostic machines in the Bay Area, California.

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