E-commerce giants offer relief to small enterprise sector

Ding Yining
To keep the wheels of commerce turning, online platforms are waiving fees and earmarking funds for business operators affected by the coronavirus epidemic.
Ding Yining
E-commerce giants offer relief to small enterprise sector

Various subsidies and supportive measures have been offered to online merchants by Internet giants to assist vendors whose businesses have suffered due to the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic.

Alibaba said yesterday that it will waive platform service fees for all Tmall merchants for the first half of the year.

"Now we have to fight a battle to sustain economic development, as life must go on and small-and-medium sized enterprises must survive," it said in a letter to merchants. 

Its financial affiliate MYBank will provide a total of 20 billion yuan (US$2.87 billion) in loans to online merchants, with 10 billion yuan earmarked for those from Hubei Province, and an interest-free period of three months. 

"We must ensure the cogs and wheels of our economy and commerce are turning so production lines can resume and supply chains can flow," it said.  

Its logistics affiliate Cainao Network will also co-launch a 1 billion yuan fund to support supply chain and delivery services. 

Ele.me and Koubei have earmarked a special support fund totaling 1 billion yuan for select nationwide chain restaurant operators.

Separately, JD and its delivery affiliate Dada-JD Daojia also intends to hire 35,000 staff and waive service charges for online merchants. 

Vendors that sign contracts before the end of March can enjoy free warehouse facilities at JD's existing sites for up to 90 days.  

It will also offer 200 million yuan in subsidies for merchants and prioritize vendors of personal protection and sanitation products. 

JD's hiring plan includes warehouse staff, delivery personnel and drivers. It aims to help small and micro enterprise workers find temporary jobs before they resume normal work. 

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