AMAZON JUST LAUNCHED A LENDING SERVICE IN CHINA WHILE SHUTTERING ITS LOCAL MARKETPLACE

  • The new Lending Referral Program connects prequalified sellers with a local lender in China, offering short-term loans to help the sellers purchase inventory and expand their business.
  • It’s aimed at growing the number of China-based merchants who sell directly to Amazon consumers in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
  • Amazon is starting with a single lending partner, Shanghai Fuyou Commercial Factoring, although it plans to add more lenders in the future.

Amazon may be closing its marketplace in China, but it’s still aggressively pursuing growth in the country with a new lending service that could help bolster its sprawling seller community there.

The program is called Lending Referral Program, according to a post in Amazon’s sellers forum, which is only open to merchants doing business on the site. Screenshots of the post were viewed by CNBC. Amazon picks and connects prequalified sellers with a local lender in China, offering short-term loans to help the sellers purchase inventory and expand their business.

“The Lending Referral Program is a new program by Amazon Lending,” the post said. “Under this program you may be extended offers to apply for loans provided by local Chinese lenders to grow your business on Amazon.”

Amazon’s new loan service is the company’s latest initiative in China, after announcing the closure of its marketplace there last month. Instead of targeting Chinese consumers, the lending program is aimed at growing the number of China-based merchants who sell directly to Amazon consumers in the U.S. and the rest of the world, as Chinese sellers now account for a significant share of Amazon’s global marketplace sales.

“If Amazon wants to build a bigger seller ecosystem in China — and grow its worldwide marketplace — providing working capital is a key factor,” said Don Zhao, co-founder of Azoya, a company that helps e-commerce businesses in China…

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