Ant Financial, Alibaba’s fintech arm, has set up a corporate credit rating company for small and micro enterprises.

Why it matters: The new venture brings Ant Financial closer to the comprehensive offerings of traditional banks, with the distinct advantage of having access to the Taobao marketplace—a massive pool of small and micro enterprises.

  • By performing financial risk assessments, the credit rating arm can help provide hard-to-come-by loans to millions of small business owners.

Details: Ant Financial Credit Rating is wholly owned by Ant Financial and funded with RMB 500 million (about $70.5 million) in capital, according to Chinese media reports. The company was listed on China’s Na­tional Cor­po­rate Credit In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (NCCIS), the national corporate registry database.

  • Shao Wen­lan, head of Alibaba’s personal credit rating arm Sesame Credit, will head the venture, according to media reports.
  • According to its NCCIS listing, the company will offer social, financial, and economic consulting services. It will also offer technical services to lend developmental support in fields such as IT, data storage, data processing, and software, media reported.

Context: The corporate credit industry has increasingly crowded, with 128 registered companies, according to Beijing News.

  • Ant Financial and Sesame Credit offer extensive and widely used financial services for individuals, including digital payments, credit lines and credit scores.
  • In 2015, Sesame Credit was enlisted by the central bank of China to launch personal credit operations, along with Tencent Credit and six other fintech companies.
  • The move is in line with Ant Financial and Alibaba‘s wider pivot towards business-facing operations, including a productivity and collaboration tool.

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.