Alipay has announced today that it will launch new initiatives to provide more digital tools, safeguards, loan services and training to further improve efficiencies and support the growth and digitization of small and micro businesses (SMBs) in China.
SMBs form the cornerstone of Chinese society and create millions of job opportunities. However, shifts in industry models mean that online and offline operations are increasingly merging together and this group has lacked the services and tools needed to improve efficiencies and seize the opportunities from digitization. Aiming to tackle this on-going issue, Alipay, will provide the following support to bolster the development of SMBs in China.
A great number of SMBs have benefited from Ant Financial’s range of services, including those provided to QR code merchants, who are typically SMBs that use Alipay’s QR code to collect payment from customers. These services include business analysis, financial management, loan and insurance services. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, Ant Financial enables SMB owners to apply for business loans in less than three minutes by smartphone, receive near-instant approval without human intervention. One QR code merchant from Wuhan, for instance, applied for a RMB20,000 (USD $2,874) business loan during Chinese New Year and received approval within one second. In the year ending October 2018, over three million QR code merchants have applied for loans through this service with an average loan size of less than RMB8,000 (USD $1,150).
AI facilitates the entire process of out-patient benefits offered to QR code merchants, from guiding users to upload their invoices correctly, to identifying key data points on the invoice (such as hospital name and fee amount), to reviewing the information and materials submitted. Ant Financial’s blockchain technology secures the authenticity of the invoices. Tens of millions of QR code merchants have begun to take advantage of this offer with 20,000 merchants on average signing up for the service each day.