In the first quarter of 2013, 25 thousand online retailers on Taobao and Tmall received loans, with an average of 11 thousand yuan per case, from Alifinance, the financial arm under Alibaba Group, according to a report by Alifinance (in Chinese). That totals 1.1 million loans, 50% increase year-over-year, and 12 billion yuan in worth.

It is found that women’s apparel retailers have the greatest need for loans. 1.4 billion yuan, 12% of the total, was loaned to them in the first quarter. Other categories of goods that are also hungry for funds include electronics, men’s clothing, children’s clothing and cosmetics & beauty.

The accumulated number of businesses that Alifinance has made loans to has reached 250 thousand as of Q1 2013. The biggest winner of the service is a women’s clothing retailer in Guangdong province that has received more than 300 loans since May 2011.

One interesting finding is retailers often submit applications during 1-3 pm or 8- 11 pm every day. After noon, retailers have received some orders with which they can apply for a loan. In the evening retailers would apply for a loan with orders received in a whole day and bulk buy goods for the next day.

The report asserts that businesses with loans in hand grow 30% faster in terms of transactions than those without.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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