Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba has announced that it has struckan exclusive deal with US peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company Lending Club tooffer financing to US businesses looking to buy from Chinese suppliers.According to the terms of the agreement, a US-based small business can apply inunder five minutes and obtain a line of credit from $5,000 to $300,000 to makea payment to a supplier for purchases on Alibaba.com.
Commenting on the deal, Michael Lee, Alibaba.com’s globalmarketing and business development director said, “Our mission is to make iteasy to do business anywhere. We want to make financing as efficient aspossible for the millions of US buyers that do business through Alibaba.com andare pleased to bring Lending Club’s simple, low cost and transparent financingproducts to our US buyers.”
While small, the P2P lending space is an exciting and fastgrowing environment and has seen significant development beyond the US. In theUK, the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) announced that in 2014 the peer-to-peerlending industry lent more than £1.2 ($1.66) billion in 2014 and has now lentmore than £2.1 ($3.16) billion in total, doubling in size since the end of2013.
Moving forward one can expect to see more of these deals asbusinesses increasingly look for other means of financing as traditionallenders have yet to truly loosen their lending in the wake of the globalfinancial and economic crisis and the ongoing Eurozone crisis and for Alibaba itonly further extends its roots into the US market following its IPO.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments for Mercator Advisory Group
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