B2B Payments

Amazon Reveals Interest In Bringing SMB Lending To China

As Amazon presses further into China to compete with rivals like Alibaba, a job posting on the Amazon website may have just revealed plans for the eCommerce conglomerate to extend its small business lending program into the country.

Reports in CNBC this week said Amazon posted a new position for manager of its small business lending program, and the job opening is based in China. The posting says Amazon is looking for a professional with “end-to-end responsibility for scaling operations and partner programs in a new strategic initiative in China.”

The job opening was posted June 19, according to reports.

According to the publication, heavy competitive headwinds from China’s current eCommerce leaders, Alibaba and JD.com, have left just 2 percent of the market to Amazon, iResearch data shows.

“So the lending program could be a way for Amazon to turn the tide by encouraging merchants to use its platform,” CNBC stated.

Amazon first began lending to small businesses in 2015, beginning with the U.S., Japan and U.K. markets. So far, its SMB lending operations have facilitated more than $3 billion in small business short-term financing. CNBC said a spokesperson for Amazon did not respond to a request for comment about the possibility of the firm’s small business lending unit launching in China.

China is beginning to grant licenses to financial services players to operate in Mainland China after barring foreign firms from operating in the market. Reports earlier this month said WorldFirst is about to be the first to receive that license, and could beat PayPal to the punch. It is unclear whether Amazon would need as a license to begin lending to SMBs in China.

Amazon expanded in China in 2016 when it launched Prime to Chinese customers. Months prior, Amazon had quietly launched a version of its Japanese platform in the Chinese language, and added support for shipping to Mainland China, reports said.

Elsewhere, Amazon is expanding its small business financing presence. Earlier this week, the company announced a partnership with American Express to issue small business credit cards, designed to support SMBs making purchases on the Amazon platform. The co-branded card will include integrated spend management features, the firms noted.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.