SINGAPORE (Dec 24): In 2010, two of the US’ richest men — Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — went to China and invited 50 of the country’s richest tycoons to dinner.

The Microsoft founder who runs the US$50 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors, have a combined net worth of nearly US$180 billion ($247 billion). The two are also considered the most charitable billionaires in the US, and have made it their mission to persuade the world’s super rich to give away their fortunes to philanthropic causes, and to do so via The Giving Pledge. Among those who have signed up are the who’s who of Silicon Valley and the American industry, including Larry Ellison, Paul Allen and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Michael Bloomberg, Ted Forstmann, Barron Hilton and David Rockefeller.

At the dinner in Beijing in 2010, two-thirds of the invitees showed up, and Gates and Buffett pronounced the event a success. Those who declined the invitation were reportedly worried they would be asked for money outright. Gates and Buffett reassured all that the dinner was to be a “two-way” “discussion about philanthropy”.

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