Date
22 October 2017
Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma speaks during the launch ceremony of MYbank in Hangzhou on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma speaks during the launch ceremony of MYbank in Hangzhou on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial launches online bank for SMEs

Alibaba Group’s financial affiliate Ant Financial Services Group launched on Thursday an online bank that will target small businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers in China.

MYbank, which has registered capital of 4 billion yuan (US$644 million), will offer loans of up to 5 million yuan, officials said. 

“MYbank is here to give affordable loans for small and micro enterprises, and we are here to provide banking services, not for the rich, but for the little guys,” Reuters quoted the bank’s executive chairman Eric Jing as saying.

The online bank will be only be able to take in deposits when regulators approve a facial recognition technology that allow customers to remotely open bank accounts, the report said.

MYbank follows in the footsteps of Alibaba’s arch-rival Tencent Holdings, which began trial operations of its WeBank, China’s first online bank, in January.

Both MYbank and WeBank have said they intend to operate without brick-and-mortar branches to keep costs low and reach more users.

Ant Financial, which operates China’s biggest online payment system Alipay, said access to a large amount of online data can enable MYbank to determine the borrowers’ creditworthiness and lending risks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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RC

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