WELLINGTON, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese businessman has made one of the largest ever donations to a New Zealand university in order to boost research into cancer.
Auckland University said Friday that Liangren Li, who has lived in New Zealand for 20 years, had donated 10 million NZ dollars (6. 36 million U.S. dollars) for research at the university's faculty of medical and health sciences.
The Li Family Fund would be set up as an endowment fund that will provide annual interest for investing in cancer research.
"It will have a profound impact on our ability to develop new treatments for cancer," vice-chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said in a statement.
Dean of the faculty of medical and health sciences, Professor John Fraser, said the donation was the largest in its 50 year history.
"Mr Li will ensure that his name will live on in cancer research in New Zealand for many years to come and may just be responsible for the breakthroughs that I know will come with continued research," Fraser said in the statement.
Li was diagnosed with lung cancer in February, despite never smoking, living a healthy lifestyle, and having none of the risk factors for lung cancer.
"When I made the decision to put the money into cancer study, by that time the prognosis with the lung tumor was not very positive and I thought I only had a couple of months to live," Li said in the statement.
"Now already it is looking much more positive thanks to the medicine I am taking and I am able to live longer."
The father of two was born in Shandong, China, and moved to the northeastern city Harbin, where he gained a degree in civil engineering from Northeast Forestry University.
He had been doing an office job before starting up his own business, trading in commodities with Russia.
He was accepted for immigration to New Zealand in 1996 and started a business in importing plumbing supplies before expanding into forestry and real estate.
"For a business person, I have always thought that the biggest contribution you can make is through philanthropy," he said.