Alibaba has enlisted the help of two UK working capital startups to provide micro-financing to European firms wishing to buy from Chinese suppliers.
The Chinese e-commerce conglomerate is to partner with iwoca and ezbob to offer short-term working capital to small businesses that would fail to meet bank lending criteria.
The arrangement is the first in Europe for Alibaba, which last month struck a similar deal with P2P loan platform Lending Club in the US. Unlike that arrangement, ezbob and iwoca will act the middle man to the SME market, offering loans of up to £50,000 at interest rates of 0.75% to two percent monthly.
Both ezbob and iwoca already provide similar online credit deals for companies selling through Amazon and eBay.
Wei Duan, Alibaba.com's European marketing and business development director, says: "We want to make financing as easy as possible for the millions of British companies that do business through Alibaba.com."