Alipay To Launch Support Initiatives for Wuhan’s SMEs

The initiatives will focus on helping SMEs regain lost ground

Superapp Alipay will be rolling out a host of initiatives to support small businesses in Wuhan, with a national rollout planned for later, a statement from the company announced this week.

Small businesses across the world have been hit severely by the COVID-19 pandemic, and inert income streams have forced several to lay off employees or shut shop. China is no exception, and its micro, small and medium enterprises could use a leg up.

Alipay is placing its bets on digitalization to support SMEs in Wuhan, which is just coming out of a two-month lockdown.

Simon Hu, Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial, said in the statement, “We are committed to supporting SMEs and will continue to provide leading digital technology solutions to support the recovery of small businesses and help them prepare for the future.”

“We firmly believe that, after the COVID-19 outbreak, service providers who are able to tap into the power of digital technologies will come out the strongest,” Hu added.

Run by hectocorn Ant Financial, Alipay started as an online payments app, and has evolved to become a comprehensive digital lifestyle platform.

Through its app, Alipay’s 900 million users will now be able to locate Wuhan businesses from a dedicated landing page section, place orders for local produce, and also view livestreams of Wuhan’s tourist destinations.

Alipay has also jointly launched a “Zero Contact” campaign with Ant Financial’s MYbank, where merchants can apply for loans through the Alipay platform. Interest rates will be waived for 360,000 of Wuhan’s offline micro-merchants in the first month, while interest rates will be hashed by 20% for other Hubei merchants.

Additionally, under a three-year plan unveiled in March this year, Alipay will be launching incentive programs that encourage independent software vendors (ISVs) to take advantage of Alipay’s digital tool kit. In the immediate future, is looking to roll these out to 1000 ISVs who can develop solutions for 5 million storefronts of chain brands.

Alipay expects to generate hundreds of millions of cumulative page views for those chain brands that leverage this incentive program, according to the statement.

Alipay is also looking to support the catering industry through “zero contact” digital solutions that include food ordering, reservations and delivery, as well as service industry workers through free in-app training courses.

Small and medium sized enterprises in China employ nearly 80% of nationwide enterprise employees, and their revenues account for about 68% of the total revenues of companies in the country. Getting them back on their feet is critical to reviving the sluggish Chinese economy.

Header image courtesy of Alizila

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