Singapore-based online merchant Lazada is going to expand its financial services department by adding more products for its customers, according to a report by CNBC.
The seven-year-old company, which is owned by Alibaba, caters to markets in Indonesia and Thailand, as well as Singapore, and hosts a selling platform that lets merchants sell in those countries.
Lazada aims to make financial services a bigger part of its future, and plans to place more resources into expanding that sector, according to CEO Pierre Poignant. The company already has an eWallet for users to buy and sell on the platform, but intends to offer more.
“The next steps are financing, [and] more rewards to our wallets, so we will continue to invest in that direction,” Poignant said.
In the past year, Lazada linked up with small business financing outfit Finaxar with the intention of offering credit lines to small- and medium-sized businesses that use Lazada’s platform. More financing products will follow, Poignant said.
“Through our data, we will be able to more precisely assess the loans. So I think, in a way, the future (will) be more efficient, faster and bigger, that’s one part,” Poignant said. “Second part (is), we will venture in other parts of financing. For example, something which is very, I think, promising, is trade financing across countries, which we will also look into.”
Trade financing is a complicated and expensive process, especially for smaller companies, but it could very well be a billion-dollar opportunity for Lazada.
“I think, as part of the Alibaba economy, the vision of the group is to have an economy of two billion people and millions” of small and medium-sized companies, Poignant said. “We have the data to understand both origin and local, so we can basically have a very accurate prediction of the demand and the supply chain, and therefore, we are able to provide super products when it comes to financing.”