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 realizing Alibaba’s strategic goal of establishing a comprehensive online “ecosystem” serving SMEs in China – including online sourcing, marketing, payment and fulfillment services.  Alibaba.com CEO David Wei told Reuters that he expects revenue growth of 40% to 50% in the next 12 months.   Courtesy Business Strategies Group, Hong Kong

BIIA Newsletter April II – 2010 Issue