Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has continued its adventures in trade finance by teaming up with India’s ICICI Bank.
The deal with India’s largest privately-held bank will allow Indian SME users of Alibaba.com, the company’s flagship retail enterprise, to obtain loans, cash management solutions, forex transactions, guarantees and cross-border remittances through ICICI.
It follows earlier moves by Alibaba to launch its own trade finance platform – e-Credit Line – in the UK, which allows UK small businesses to secure loans from alternative financiers ezbob and iwoca, in order to purchase goods from vendors using the Alibaba platform.
Purchasers are also able to obtain funding through the state-owned China Construction Bank in order to buy goods from Alibaba’s platform – a trend which many in Asian trade expect to continue as small businesses become more familiar with the methodology.
The retail platform has invested serious capital in expanding its financial services offering, launching Ant Financial Services Group, which encompasses Alipay, one of the world’s largest third-party payment platforms.
“This collaboration underlines our commitment to providing users with banking solutions that simplify their lives,” says Rajiv Sabharwal, executive director at ICICI. “We believe this access to quick and integrated banking will enable Indian entrepreneurs to propel their business on the global platform.”
Channels director for Alibaba.com in India Bhushan Patil says: “With trade facilitation centre, Alibaba.com expects to offer access to various financing, credit and logistics services provided by ICICI Bank for our Indian customer. We have also worked to sweeten this proposition by enabling Alibaba.com members in India to enjoy better rates and discounts on ICICI products and services.”
The Alibaba Group was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma and in September 2014 its market value was measured at a staggering US$231bn.