Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s financial-services affiliate, has ramped up its expansion in rural finance-with the company announcing on Tuesday [20 December 2016] that it will provide so-called acquaintance-based loan services, big data-based online loan services and supply chain financing for the rural population in China. Acquaintance-based loan services is a new model created by Ant Financial for rural financing, in which it screens loan applicants with little or no conventional credit history by talking to their offline business partners, customers and even other people in the villages.…Full Article: Dec 2016

Key Points

  • Over the next three years [~2017 to 2020], Alibaba’s Ant Financial hopes to distribute CNY 1 trillion (US$143.9 billion) in rural loans.
  • In December 2016, Ant Financial became the second largest shareholder in China’s CFPA Microfinance Management Company. Ant Financial will also set up a joint-venture with China United Insurance Holding that will support the country’s agriculture sector.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In September 2016, Yum Brands announced it secured investors for its Chinese spinoff. Primavera Capital Group would invest US$410 million while Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group (Alibaba’s online payment application Alipay) would invest US$50 million.
  • In April 2016, Eleme received US$1.25 billion in financing from Alibaba Group Holding and Ant Financial Services Group (Alibaba’s financial division). In addition, Eleme stated it would work with the online payment application Alipay (Alibaba).
  • In June 2015, Alibaba and Ant Financial acquired Koubei (50/50 joint venture, US$483.3 million each) to counter the Tencent-backed (see also Meituan-Dianping online platform.

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