HSBC has partnered with Dowsure Technologies, a China-based cross-border e-commerce API platform, to facilitate the flow of trade finance to online suppliers by leveraging transaction data instead of collateral or financial documents.

Launched in 2016, Shenzhen-based Dowsure – an Amazon Seller Lending Programme partner – has built a proprietary assessment model for online marketplace store owners that uses information such as inventory, sales and refund records. By connecting this data to financial institutions, Dowsure enables cross-border merchants to access credit that they might otherwise struggle to obtain.

Under the terms of the partnership, Dowsure will provide a streamlined credit assessment process for Amazon merchants seeking to apply for trade finance from HSBC. In addition, the bank’s venture capital arm, HSBC Ventures, has made a strategic investment into the company. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

“HSBC’s enhanced support for small and medium-sized e-commerce enterprises through the investment in Dowsure is a positive signal for the entire cross-border e-commerce industry,” says Byron Pei, Dowsure’s founder. “By combining our technological capabilities and data advantages with HSBC’s financial expertise, we are able to provide a comprehensive, convenient and efficient product offer to a wide range of e-commerce sellers. We look forward to leveraging this collaboration to capture more opportunities in future global expansion, especially for those businesses based in the Greater Bay Area.”

“Our collaboration with Dowsure is the latest example of using big data to enable credit approvals on a real-time basis and embedded on platforms,” adds Aditya Gahlaut, HSBC’s regional co-head of global trade and receivables finance for the Asia Pacific. “By assigning scores using historical trade and other financial and non-financial data, we are able to support a greater number of sellers operating in the booming e-commerce sector.”

This marks the latest in a series of initiatives by the bank to tap into China’s booming cross-border e-commerce market, which officials say hit Rmb2.11tn (US$306.3bn) in sales in 2022, up from Rmb1tn in 2018.

In 2021, HSBC launched a digital merchant finance programme in collaboration with HKTVmall that leveraged commercial data for credit assessment. This followed a 2020 partnership with Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao Network Technology, which allowed Hong Kong merchants on the Alibaba-owned TMall Global e-marketplace to apply for financing of up to US$500,000, in what an HSBC spokesperson told GTR was the bank’s “first trade finance solution to use real-time third-party data for loan approval”.

Most recently, in April this year, HSBC China rolled out a digital service – HSBC ECom Direct – to enable sellers in mainland China to collect sales receivables from overseas e-commerce marketplaces directly and automatically.