In a bid to provide platform users with tailor-made services for their business, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has launched a programme called Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC). The proposed TFC programme will allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to avail special benefits, dedicated support and customised value-added services besides providing dedicated facilities.
To explore the establishment of an expanded TFC programme in India, Alibaba has entered into agreements with Kotak Mahindra Bank, IDFC Bank, Delhivery, DHL ,and Aditya Birla Finance Ltd.
Vinay Bhartia, Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships for Alibaba, India said: “After interacting with SMEs in India, we found they faced multiple challenges even after receiving export orders like logistics, funding, banking services, inspection and shipment. So, while Alibaba helps SMEs or exporters find overseas buyers, value-added services to be provided by our Trade Facilitation Center partners will help our members overcome these challenges.”
Through these partnerships, it aims to encourage and support Indian SMEs by providing a one-stop shop for their essential trade requirements.
Alibaba will work with Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC Bank to provide banking, transactional and lending solutions. Dr. Rajiv Lall, founder MD & CEO, IDFC Bank, said, “India’s small business community is growing fast, with a huge digital footprint. IDFC Bank is betting big on this segment. Our advanced technology platform already offers the industry’s first unified business and personal account, a single-point contact, flexible funding and unique trade solutions. We are now embracing the concept of radical partnering with fintech companies to serve businesses digitally. Our partnership with Alibaba will offer us the opportunity to provide best-in-class banking services to members, especially for growing cross-border trade.”
Aditya Birla Finance Limited will help improve SMEs’ exports process with a provision for collateral-free loans and customised financing options. On the other hand, DHL will present the members with ‘Concept 1’, a programme with one solution for all exports and imports of documents, samples and small shipments. Finally, Delhivery will provide domestic courier and logistics services with free shipments and offer members special solutions, prices, and customer support.
Alibaba has been operating in India since 2007. The marketplace had around 6 Mn registered Indian buyers and sellers as of early 2016. In May 2015, through its marketplace AliExpress, Alibaba entered the Indian ecommerce market. With this move, AliExpress got into a strategic tie-up with Indian mobile wallet company Paytm. In August 2016, reports surfaced that Alibaba had held discussions to acquire online marketplace ShopClues.