Ant Financial to team up in support of small business owners
Ant Financial's online lending affiliate MYBank said it aims to connect with 1,000 financial service providers to cover as many as 30 million small and micro businesses.
“We'll be combining Ant Financial’s technologies with small loan firms and a wide range of financial institutions to extend our reach to more under-banked small and micro business owners to boost economic development through empowering the grass-root level," said MYBank president Huang Hao.
MYBank has been extending its services from online vendors to more offline bricks-and-mortar small business owners who have little access to financial support due to their lack of credit history and collateral.
The online lender, in which Ant Financial holds a 30 percent stake, hopes to share its technological capabilities to help smaller financial institutions with risk management and to enhance operation efficiency.
Currently it's working with about 100 to 150 partners including financial institutions, micro-lending firms, information technology and data service providers.
It also unveiled a partnership with China Renmin University and other education institutions to offer online courses for small and micro businesses to better manage their operations.
Li Dongrong, head of the National Internet Finance Association of China and former deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, called on financial institutions to raise their business capabilities and step up efforts to balance risk assurance measures.
Small and micro business' financing demands now come in various forms, which has also posed new challenges for lenders, he added.
Technology is increasingly converging with financial services, but small and micro financial institutions and regional lenders still face challenges such as a lack of data operation capabilities and technology talents.
Ant Financial also seeks to offer a wide range of AI capabilities with asset management companies in China to support their digital transformation so that purchasing wealth management products such as mutual funds and fixed-income asset management products would become more accessible.