xi's moments
Home | Companies

Ant should take a relook at small loan business, experts say

By Chen Jia | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-11-06 13:33

An employee stands next to the logo of Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba's financial affiliate, at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Jan 24, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Ant Group's loan business should better serve the society and facilitate inclusive finance, according to analysts.

Financial regulators' decision of delaying the Chinese fintech giant's $34.4 billion IPOs is a warning for fintech companies to reconsider their small loan business, as it relates to benefits of a large group of Chinese people. And a base line is to ensure that lending will not result in excessive debt burden on borrowers, analysts said.

Wei Shangjin, a professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University, said Ant's personal loan business can help households better manage temporary income or expenditure shocks, say for illness or education.

"One concern is that greater availability of such loans could result in financially unsophisticated people taking on too much debt, or otherwise exacerbating their 'behavioral biases', thereby creating greater financial instability," said Wei, who is also former chief economist of Asian Development Bank.

Wei suggested that more research and evaluations in this area thus would help to ensure that Ant – and fintech innovation in general – can progress in ways that are good, not just for financial investors, but for society at large.

"Most of the social benefits stemming from Ant's expansion come as a by-product of the company's profit-seeking activities. This is not a bad thing as it makes them sustainable," he added.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349