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Alibaba extends relief to SMEs amid 'economic winter'

Ding Yining
The e-commerce giant will continue immediate settlement until the end of June, instead of March as previously announced, and help export-focused SMEs expand domestically.
Ding Yining
Alibaba extends relief to SMEs amid 'economic winter'

Alibaba said it's expanding its relief efforts for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the wake of economic uncertainties arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

The e-commerce giant is extending immediate settlement services until the end of June, instead of March as previously announced, allowing merchants to get payment from its third-party settlement platform as soon as they ship their orders.

Normally they would only get settlement after shoppers confirm receipt of their goods.

It's also helping export-focused SMEs expand into new domestic markets via AliExpress, Lazada and Tmall World.

"The challenges we will face may be tougher than anything we’ve experienced over the past 20 years. The tougher the business environment, the more Alibaba needs to step up and fulfill our mission," Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said in a staff memo released on Tuesday.

"We will continue to build the essential infrastructure needed for the digital economy era and take every necessary action to help SMEs triumph over this economic winter," he said. 

Tmall will also waive relevant fees for exporters who have opened online storefronts and will expedite online store-opening procedures.

Zhang called on all business units and affiliates to band together with the SMEs that need the most help, and convert Alibaba’s resources into strengths for them.

Financial subsidies such as low-interest loans offered to small and micro businesses have already been put in place by the financial service affiliate Ant Financial.

Alibaba logistics unit Cainiao Network has offered job openings in 30,000 dispatch centers in about 100 domestic cities, helping migrant workers find income.

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