More luxury brands, including Versace, LVMH and Kering, pledge donations to combat coronavirus

Bill Gates, Apple and Jack Ma also donated millions.

A cleaner walks past an empty Hermès store Beijing in February 2020 (Photo: Bloomberg)

Versace is the latest company to join the cause to fight the virus outbreak that has claimed 565 lives around the world at the time of writing. The Italian luxury company pledged 1 million yuan (RM591,033) to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation to alleviate the deficit of medical supplies.

Capri Holdings Ltd, parent company of Versace that also owns Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors, said that the virus is expected to reduce this quarter’s revenues by US$100 million (RM412 million) as the outbreak continues to spread.

A number of other luxury companies have already made donations over the past few weeks. The Kering Group, parent company of brands including Saint Laurent, Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueenn and Ulysse Nardin, donated 7.5 million yuan (RM4.43 million) to the Red Cross Foundation in Hubei. The funds will be used to care for medical staff and patients at hospitals as well as for public health education.

Paris-based fashion conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy, which owns Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior and Celine pledged 16 million yuan (RM9.46 million), also donated to the same foundation. Other brands have pledged aid too, including Estée Lauder with 2 million yuan (RM1.18 million) and Austrian glass producer Swarovski with 3 million yuan (RM1.77 million).


People in Shanghai are wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus (Photo: Reuters)

Fashion houses have warned investors that sales could take a hit as streets in China, as well as populous cities in the world, are faced with shuttered stores and empty streets. Additional travel restrictions have also caused a massive drop in spending by Chinese tourists abroad. The situation is worsened with flight cancellations as most airlines are suspended from and to China.

Fashion heavy-hitters aside, large multinationals in the US and Europe including Microsoft, Dell, L’Oreal and Cargill have collectively donated roughly 10 million yuan (RM5.91 million) to authorities in Hubei province battling the epidemic. Apple's Tim Cook announced that the company would instead contribute efforts on the ground.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the second-richest person in China, reportedly pledged 100 million yuan (RM59.13 million) to develop a coronavirus vaccine through his Jack Ma Foundation. The company will also help hospitals to acquire medical supplies in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the epidemic first emerged.


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