Ant Group, the parent company of China’s largest digital payment platform Alipay, has launched a trade and financial service platform, powered by AntChain, its blockchain-based technology solution.

Named Trusple – a contraction of “trust made simple”, the platform is designed to tackle pain points for SMEs involved in cross-border trading, says Guofei Jiang, president of advanced technology at Hangzhou-based Ant Group. “Just like when Alipay was introduced in 2004 as the online escrow payment solution to build trust between buyers and sellers, with the launch of AntChain-powered Trusple, we look forward to making cross-border trading safer, more reliable, and more efficient for buyers and sellers, as well as for the financial institutions that serve them.”

Trusple works by generating a smart contract once a buyer and a seller upload a trading order on the platform. As the order is executed, the smart contract is automatically updated with key information, such as order placements, logistics, and tax refund options. Using AntChain, the buyer’s and seller’s banks can submit verification requests to the Trusple platform, then automatically process the payment settlements through the smart contract.

This automated method mitigates the intensive and time-consuming processes that banks traditionally conduct to track and verify trading orders, while successful transactions on Trusple enable SMEs to build their creditworthiness on AntChain, making it easier for them to obtain financing services from financial institutions.

The first cross-border live transaction on the platform was completed last week, by Standard Chartered, which is an advising bank to Trusple alongside BNP Paribas, Citi, DBS and Deutsche Bank. Details of the transaction were not made public, but Standard Chartered says that by integrating its financial services with Trusple, it will be able to offer SMEs improved access to trade finance, and support the development of supply chains in the region.