“We’re open” says the bright red sign behind Wuhan bicycle store owner Mr. Fang Qianjin, signaling that the city is ready to ride again after a two-month lockdown. (Photo: Business Wire)
HANGZHOU, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alipay, the world’s leading open digital lifestyle platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, today announced a series of initiatives to support small businesses in Wuhan as the city emerges from lockdown. These initiatives will later expand coverage to support service providers across China as they tap into the power of digital technologies to transform adversity into opportunities.
Alipay has set up a special section, visible from the landing page of the Alipay app, to allow the platform’s 900 million users to easily locate merchants and their respective products and services in Wuhan. The section allows orders to be placed directly via the Alipay app for local specialty produce, and also enables users to access livestreams of tourist destinations across the city as it emerges from lockdown. Local merchants, including restaurants and tourist sites, will benefit from this initiative.
“In every hardship, there lies an opportunity to envision and create a brighter future. We firmly believe that, after the COVID-19 outbreak, service providers who are able to tap into the power of digital technologies will come out the strongest,” said Simon Hu, Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial. “We are committed to supporting SMEs and will continue to provide leading digital technology solutions to support the recovery of small businesses and help them prepare for the future.”
Merchants using the Alipay platform can also apply for loans offered by the “Zero Contact” campaign jointly launched by MYbank, an online bank under Ant Financial with a focus on serving SMEs, and 100 banks in China. MYbank will waive interest rates for 360,000 offline micro merchants in Wuhan for the first month and cut interest rates by 20% for Hubei merchants outside of the city.
As part of a three-year plan unveiled in March to work with 50,000 Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to support the digital transformation of 40 million service providers, Alipay will also launch a series of incentive programs to encourage 1,000 ISVs to leverage its full suite of digital tool kits, such as digital cashier assistant and smart marketing, to develop sector-specific solutions for 5 million storefronts of multiple chain brands. These programs are expected to generate hundreds of millions of cumulative page views for chain brands conducting business via Alipay’s platform in the next six months.
For merchants in the catering industry, Alipay, in partnership with Alibaba local consumer services, will incentivize service providers to develop digital solutions needed by restaurants to resume work and advance their digital transformation. These solutions, designed to be “zero contact,” will cover a range of processes including food ordering, reservations, and delivery.
Alipay will also provide free training courses via its app to equip service industry workers, such as cashier staff, storefront managers and small business owners, with the skills and knowledge they need to fully tap into the digital technologies offered by the Alipay platform.