Business / Technology

Crowdfunding project with a difference

By MENG JING (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-17 10:40

Every modern business idea is having to work hard to use the Internet to grow, but for some traditional sectors, adopting new technology can be confusing and potentially disruptive.

Arguably the sector that has been most affected by the Internet is retail, with e-commerce changing the way people not only shop, but live. The same is true of the finance sector.

One of the best examples that straddles both those sectors is JD Finance, the finance business unit of China's largest online direct sales company Inc, which had launched a crowdfunding project to help reduce property.

The organization, founded by the Beijing-based at the beginning of this year, has launched an online crowdfunding project with Grameen China, the Chinese arm of the nonprofit and nongovernment organization Grameen Trust, to help alleviate poverty in rural China.

The project is allowing to help raise money to support the development and operation of Grameen China, which was founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus in 2014.

Grameen China opened its first office in July in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, and is dedicated to providing microloans, financial education and a support network for women who live in poverty in rural China, to help them launch and build their own small businesses.

The online crowdfunding project offers participants various rewards depending on the amount they donate. Donors can choose to give as high as 26,600 yuan ($4,313) or as low as 2 yuan to be involved in the project.

Only six are offered the chance to become the highest bidders, who will be invited to participate in a breakfast hosted by Yunus and JD's founder Liu Qiangdong on Wednesday.

More than 6,500 people have donated to the project since it was put online on Dec 3 and more than 255,000 yuan had been raised by Tuesday.

The money raised by the program on's website will be used to establish Grameen China's ground operations, and future cooperation between the two sides is likely to use's platform to provide microloans for entrepreneurs in rural areas of China, which have been underserved by the traditional banking system.

Zhan Gao, president of Grameen China, called the partnership with a landmark in the development of China's nascent microfinance efforts.

"Grameen's expertise in empowering people in rural areas to lift themselves out of poverty, combined with's huge user base and reach into targeted areas, will provide a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference in people's lives," he said.

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