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Alibaba announces measures to bolster SMEs

By He Wei in Shanghai | | Updated: 2020-02-10 22:24
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A logo of Alibaba Group is seen at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, China, Nov 18, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Internet giant Alibaba Group announced on Monday a string of measures from commission exemption to favorable interest rates to bolster notably small-and medium-sized businesses that are at potential financial risk as the novel coronavirus disrupts normal operations.

In an open letter published on its Weibo account, the platform said all merchants registered on Tmall, its business-to customer site, will be waived service fees for the first half of 2020.

For select vendors from Central China's Hubei province, where the epidemic remained most severe, Tmall will help manage virtual stores' operations on their behalf for three months, free of charge.

Alibaba's logistics unit Cainiao will waive or reduce two months' warehouse expenses for new merchants who sign up for the storage service before March 31.

Shops using local recommendation service Koubei are subject to zero commission fees from now to Feb 29. Those from Hubei stand to enjoy such benefits for another month.

On the financial front, the internet-based MYBank, under the auspices of Ant Financial Services Group, pledged 10 billion yuan worth of special loans dedicated to Taobao (a customer-to-customer site) and Tmall merchants.

Vendors applying for the 12-month loan stand to enjoy a 20 percent discount from the current interest rate level. Those registered in Hubei are entitled to a separate 10 billion yuan loan and a three-month interest-free period.

Food delivery arm promised to offer 1 billion yuan through special funds to lower operational burdens for catering enterprises, which are among the most affected industries.

Another 1 billion yuan fund was established to support smooth delivery experiences, including subsidies to courier riders and enhancing technological capabilities in supply chains.

It also aims to empower more enterprises by opening up its digital capabilities. For instance, offline vendors can conduct livestreaming via Taobao for free, and Alibaba's remote office tool DingTalk would become eligible to companies with video conferencing and cloud-based documentation needs.

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