Chinese ecommerce platform Alibaba makes $193m investment into financial media company

It is hoped that this investment, alongside its “leveraging” of Shanghai Media Group’s internet technology and media resources, will create a financial data and information services company to help Chinese small and medium-sized businesses “tap into a rich mine” of financial data.

Alibaba, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2014 though what was the second largest IPO in history, has used 2015 to form a number of strategic partnerships with organisations around the globe – as well as begin investing from its balance sheet.

Its latest move is being heralded as a way to level the information play field by giving a larger amount of Chinese enterprises access to data that can be “easily” mined and analysed for competitive action.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who became China’s richest man with a net worth of $18bn when his company floated last year, said: “The era of data technology is here and it will surpass the information technology era. The data technology era is about transparency, sharing of information and enabling others.

“Alibaba is excited about the possibilities of the data technology era and how it can bring value to society.”

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In the UK, Alibaba partnered with UK e-lenders ezbob and iwoca in March to supply trade finance when goods are purchased. A new Alibaba.com e-Credit Line was established, meaning SMEs can apply for a line of credit, receive approval, and then use the credit to make multiple draw downs to finance purchases on the Alibaba platform.

In May, the ecommerce giant created a new service to “create trust in trade” and boost a growing company’s ability to engage with new suppliers. The Alibaba Trade Assurance platform will bring together the past performance of suppliers to make those engaging with each one more confidence that details of a contract will be honoured.

Providing more details on its agreement with Shanghai Media Group and investment into China Business News, Alibaba revealed that its payment service, Alipay, and China Business News are “collaborating” to provide users with stock quote information and the media outlet’s wealth management information product. Enterprises engaging will be able to scale and expand, it is hoped.

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