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September 15, 2021

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Ant refutes allegations over tree planting

ANT Group refuted online claims that its tree-planting program which began in 2016 had not delivered on its promise on some plots.

A social media post began to circulate over the weekend, claiming that almost no saxaul trees had been planted at plot No. 277 at the Alxa League in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Ant Group said in a statement on Monday that the planting of 150,000 saxaul trees at plot 277 was completed in 2019 and it had received certification from third-party supervisory bodies.

It said it had made a donation to the China Green Foundation, which was responsible for tree-planting at the plot in 2019, and the latest satellite footage shows plenty of noticeable growth compared with footage taken in 2015. It said saxaul trees have been sparsely planted with about 45 trees for every 666.7 square meters of land to follow ecological plantation and greenery rules.

Saxaul trees tend to become shorter in dry years to reduce water loss, it explained.

The blogger with more than 1.4 million followers who made the claim on the Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo has apologized. He said he failed to notice the short saxaul trees and made incorrect allegations.

Alipay’s Ant Forest was launched in 2016 and has been encouraging users to adopt digital payment services and redeem virtual green energy points to have trees planted. It has attracted more than 600 million participants.


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