Combining two of the stars of the IPO class of 2014, Lending Club and Alibaba Group have announced this week a strategic multi-year partnership. A non-bank lender to small businesses via its P2P lending platform, Lending Club becomes the exclusive solution for point of sale of up to $300,000 in financing for Alibaba.com’s US business buyers. Financing will be powered by a newly created product called “Alibaba.com e-Credit Line powered by Lending Club.”
Following initiation of the deal, it puts Lending Club in front of Alibaba.com’s business buyers, which the global marketplace counts in the millions. It also expands their loan portfolio being processed on their P2P platform to credit lines, which puts them in completion with other alternative lenders such as Kabbage, who focus on the inventory-purchase niche.
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For businesses, e-Credit Line provides a quick financing solution to gain working capital for purchasing goods from Chinese suppliers listed on the Alibaba.com marketplace. As an online marketplace, the financing marketplace which sidesteps banks can be viewed as an example that smaller and medium-sized businesses are getting better value for their borrowing needs with alternative-financing firms, which emerged after the digital age had already been in full force. According to Lending Club and Alibaba Group, processing of credit lines of $5,000 to $300,000 can be completed within five minutes. Businesses can also customize repayment schedules based on their expected future cash flows from sales of the purchased goods.
In joint public comments, Michael Lee, Alibaba.com’s global marketing and business development director, stated, “Our mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. We want to make financing as efficient as possible for the millions of U.S. buyers that do business through Alibaba.com and are pleased to bring Lending Club’s simple, low cost and transparent financing products to our U.S. buyers.”
Lending Club founder and CEO, Renaud Laplanche added, “We share Alibaba.com’s commitment to enabling frictionless global ecommerce by U.S. small businesses…We believe that access to affordable credit through Alibaba.com and the Lending Club platform can become a competitive advantage for small businesses across America.”