A source close to senior management at Hangzhou-based e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group revealed recently that Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma's 2013 strategy calls for the group's small and medium enterprise financing arm, Alibaba Financial, to shift the focus of its expansion from the company's popular AliLoan small-loans product to a move into guaranty services. "Jack Ma will set up seven financial centers around China in 2013," the source said, "mostly focusing on loan guarantees. The company will continue to phase out small-loans services, and will apply to set up its own bank within the next five years. Alibaba Financial may not entirely shut down its small-loans business, but will not expand it any further. The company will shift its focus toward expanding guaranty services."
According to an industry source in Guangdong, Jack Ma intended to establish an AliLoan subsidiary with registered capital of RMB 300 mln in 2012, and had requested permission from local financial authorities for the company to operate on a province-wide scale. The majority of customers for the company's loan services would have been Taobao and Alibaba vendors. According to the source, however, the plans were shelved after progress stalled.
Editor's Note: For more background on this topic, please see "Rumor: Alibaba to Establish New Small Loan Company in Guangzhou" MD 12/05/12 issue.