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Alibaba teams up with Great Wall

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-31 07:56

Chinese e-commerce giant expands presence in bad loan asset auctions

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has joined hands with China Great Wall Asset Management Co Ltd, one of the country's four largest State-owned distressed asset managers, to expand its presence in non-performing asset auctions.

Alibaba said last week that it had signed up with China Great Wall to cooperate in non-performing asset disposition, financial services, industrial investments, mergers and acquisitions and international business, as the internet firm seeks to extend its reach beyond the traditional retail business.

The two sides said they would introduce a wide range of special auction activities for non-performing assets disposition and will also develop and design more relevant internet products in the future.

"We are expecting to cooperate with China Great Wall in exploring new ways to help organize the assets more efficiently and make the process more transparent," said Alibaba's CEO Zhang Yong.

Zhang added that since 2009, Alibaba has transformed from simply an e-commerce company to a data sharing platform that connects various groups ranging from consumers to small and medium companies.

The partnership comes as China's economic conditions weighed on borrowers' ability to pay back debt and heightens concerns on distressed debts, especially in the banking sector.

According to the official figures, from Jan 1 to Sept 27 this year, the transactions of bad assets auctioned on Alibaba's online auction marketplace grew by 500 percent year-on-year. Now the marketplace is flushed with numerous assets managers, including 21 of China Great Wall's 31 branches.

Lu Weixing, general manager of the innovation division at Alibaba, said Alibaba aimed to establish a sharing platform for assets transaction, allowing everyone to have access to the same information.

"Our goal is to build an online credit mechanism and become an operational platform for exchange of assets, allowing more asset transactions and attracting more people to the trade," Lu added.

Shen Xiaoming, chairman of China Great Wall Asset Management Co Ltd, said the strategic partnership marks the latest move to deepen cooperation between the two sides.

"Alibaba's advanced technologies, big user base and its leading role as the world's largest online auction platform will help us move forward in the asset management business," Shen said.

Since 2015, Alibaba has worked with dozens of financial institutions to auction off non-performing loans, including over 200 banks and more than 20 regional asset management companies. The platform provides services for courts, customs, auction companies and equity exchange institutions.

Qiu Zhaojiong, a lawyer at Shanghai-based law firm Joint-Win Partners, said in his recent report that more companies are now using the internet for disposal of non-performing assets.

"Emerging online auction platforms such as Alibaba's Taobao will help decrease the information asymmetry and improve the interaction efficiency," Qiu said. "However, the online auction platforms should not only provide technical support and trading services but also introduce more professional organizations for the disposal of bad assets to avoid legal risks."

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