Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Alibaba is now a bank

The SCMP reports that the Alibaba Group is now licensed to offer microfinance loans to SMEs in China. According to the company’s spokesman, they are the first e-commerce firm in China to be granted such a license. The company also announced that it plans to invest over US$730 million to upgrade Alipay, its online payment platform. Alipay already has over 300 million registered users and close to a 50% market share in the online payment market in China.

These moves mark another step towards realising Alibaba’s strategic goal of establishing a comprehensive online “ecosystem” serving SMEs in China – including online sourcing, marketing, payment and fulfilment services.

On top of all that, Alibaba.com CEO David Wei told Reuters that he expects revenue growth of 40% to 50% in the next 12 months. They will be nothing if not busy in Hangzhou.

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