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Ant Financial to spend US$1.5b on small business services

Alibaba's financial arm has a three-year plan
Ti Gong

Alibaba's Ant Financial said it aims to invest 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) to help small and micro business and individual investors gain access to inclusive financial services —  especially those not covered by traditional institutions.

"In the next three years, we aim to provide a total of 1 trillion yuan of small and micro loans for offline merchants and businesses," said Ant Financial Vice President Yuan Leiming.

It will also waive the transaction fee from small and micro vendors' Alipay accounts to their bank accounts within the next three years.

In the past six months, a total of 2 billion yuan in transaction fees has been waived for small and micro vendors.

For ordinary users, a 0.1 percent of transaction fee will be charged if they withdraw more than 20,000 yuan of their Alipay balance to bank accounts or other debit cards.

As many as six million small vendors have received a total of 16 billion yuan worth of small loans in the past two months, with their credit lines ranging from 1,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan.

Zhejiang E-commerce Bank Co, in which Ant Financial is the biggest shareholder, is also seeking to provide a more diversified financial service such as financial data analysis and credit lined for small and micro businesses.

The more money small vendors receive through Alipay, the more likely they will receive a higher line of credit and a higher guarantee against fraudulent payments.

Yuan said the company will also strengthen collaboration with third party financial institutions as small vendors' demand for inclusive financial services such as wealth management, small loans and insurance would need joint efforts with other partners.



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