The US online distribution giant, which already offers business loans in the United States and Japan, will expand this business to eight countries including France.
This is currently a niche market but Amazon’s initiative should not go unnoticed. The group has decided to launch this year in eight new countries, including France, its loan program for small merchants affiliated with its e-commerce site. The confidence was made to Reuters on June 29 by Peter Faricy, the boss of Amazon Marketplace, the sales platform of the giant e-commerce.
This service, which existed since 2012 only in the United States and Japan, is aimed at SMEs that sell their products on the Amazon Marketplace but will not be accessible to all as it will only work by invitation.
A way for Amazon to protect itself against the risks of bankruptcies because on this segment the loss ratio is quite strong. The US group relies on its customer databases to choose which vendors will be eligible for loans, as evidenced by Mr. Faricy.
“We know a lot about the business of our sellers and only invite those we think are in the best position to borrow and grow.”
Amazon, which in the United States offers loans ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 600,000, does not give a precise figure for this activity. The group merely states that since 2012, it has offered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of loans to its sellers and that more than half of them have renewed the operation.
Views on the Chinese market
The rates charged by Amazon for these credits range between 6 and 14% according to testimonials collected by Reuters from sellers on Amazon Marketplace. The main strengths of Amazon’s offering, compared to that of conventional banking players, would be the simplicity and speed with which loans are obtained.
In addition to Europe, Amazon’s other goal is to expand in China, where internet giants are already very active in the SME lending market and are even beginning to address the consumer credit market. For example, on June 25, Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, kicked off MYBank, its online bank, ostensibly to serve small private entrepreneurs who are struggling to obtain loans from major traditional banks.
MYBank, which intends to serve ” small businesses, individuals, and users of the rural sector,” said it would offer loans up to 5 million yuan (730,000 euros). Within five years, MYBank expects to count as clients some 10 million small and medium-sized businesses and “hundreds of millions” of individual customers.
Tencent – another juggernaut of the Chinese web and operator of the very popular WeChat messaging application – had meanwhile launched in April its own establishment: WeBank.