Wu Xiaoling, former deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said on Wednesday that there is not much room for Alibaba’s internet financial product Yu’E Bao to grow. However, the crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending industry do have bright prospects, she said.
Maybe this is what e-commerce player JD.com’s founder Liu Qiangdong is thinking too. JD.com launched its latest crowd-funding business on the same day when Wu expressed her thought on the internet finance industry.
Crowdfunding marks JD.com’s fifth business segment after supply-chain financing, consumer finance, platform finance and payment system operations.
There are altogether 12 projects that are rolled out by JD.com at the initial stage. These projects mainly fall into two categories: smart hardware products and cultural events.
But netizens have complained that the crowdfunding projects launched by JD.com are “just a variation form of group-buying”.
One of the projects that investors could choose to invest in is Tiny Times 3, a Chinese film directed by Guo Jingming and which is scheduled for release later this month. Investors can invest 49 yuan (US$8) to 89 yuan in the movie, and in return get a ticket to the premiere and a limited edition T-shirt, according to JD.com website.
However, as the film has already completed post-production, there is no room for investors to make any significant contribution. So, it is much more like a group-buying exercise than a crowdfunding project.
Other projects include Huan Teng smart bulb, which will allow people to easily change the color and brightness of a bulb through an app installed on a smartphone.
Until now, the project that raised most funds is one that helps an elephant cartoon character Xiang Pu Jun build its own brand. The capital raised has exceeded 120,000 yuan within two days.
Strictly speaking, none of the 12 projects that were launched by JD.com are crowdfunding, as only little contributions are taken from the investors.
The best guess is that JD.com is playing safe and just testing the waters before it decides to roll out a real crowdfunding business at a later date.
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