Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s financial intends to be a full-fledged Chinese online financial network, with the launch of an e-commerce tracking stock index and internet bank. MYbank, opened Thursday with a promise to provide services not for the rich but “for the little guys”, is 30% owned by Alibaba-linked Ant Financial Services Group, will offer loans of up to 5 million yuan ($800,000).
Alibaba is China’s biggest e-commerce company, while Ant’s Alipay online payment service is the country’s most popular. Analysts say this gives Alibaba and Ant what is possibly China’s best data on consumers’ and small businesses’ finances.
The bank believes it can pass on savings to customers by cutting out the expensive processes and systems that traditional banks deal with. The service is an all-digital bank, it has no physical branches but is open 24/7.
It is aimed at those who tend to end up a little short changed by the existing banking system — SMEs who struggle to fit into a financial bracket for loans and services, and those in rural areas who have issues accessing branches and banks in person.