The Alibaba Group unveiled measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises in China affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
In an open letter, the group emphasized the importance of containing the outbreak, while also ensuring the continuation of economic development and the survival of enterprises.
Alibaba had already established two task forces to support SMEs during the outbreak and said the new measures would ramp up efforts to help merchants during this challenging period.
Leveraging Alibaba’s extensive ecosystem, the 20 measures aim to offer support across six primary areas, including:
Reduced or Waived Platform Fees
Alibaba will stop charging certain fees across its platforms. These include B2C marketplace Tmall, which will waive service fees for the first half of 2020 and offer free services to eligible merchants registered in Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
The group’s logistics arm, Cainiao, will offer two months of waived fees for warehouse rentals before the end of March, while local-services platform Koubei will waive commissions for merchants until the end of February, or until the end of March for Wuhan-based businesses.
Low-Interest and Interest-Free Loans
Ant Financial‘s online bank brand MYbank announced interest-free and low-interest loans to Taobao and Tmall merchants registered in Hubei.
The one-year loans will total RMB10 billion ($1.43 billion) and be interest-free for three months, after which the rate will be reduced 20% from current levels.
Another RMB10 billion in one-year loans will be available to merchants outside Hubei province with interest rates 20% below current levels.
From now until March, payments will also be issued to merchants free of charge as soon as an order has been fulfilled.
Subsidized Delivery Personnel and Increased Logistics Efficiency
Taobao, Tmall, and Cainiao pooled their resources to launch an RMB1 billion fund for supply chain and logistics services.
Couriers will receive extra compensation for their services, while companies can enjoy various waived fees and subsidies.
Creation of Flexible Job Openings
Alibaba’s New Retail supermarket, Freshippo, introduced an employee-sharing scheme that allows those who work in hospitality, dining, movie theaters, department stores, and various other sectors to find temporary jobs at Freshippo locations.
Similarly, Ele.me and Koubei’s Blue Ocean scheme allows restaurant employees to work as temporary couriers or convenience-store clerks.
Tools For Accelerating Digitization
Businesses will have access to various resources from the Alibaba ecosystem free of charge. These include Taobao Livestream services for all offline merchants, online courses from Taobao University and digital solutions, and proprietary services from Cainiao.
Remote Work Management
To assist businesses in handling remote-working conditions, Dingtalk’s “Work from Home” function, which allows up to 302 participants in video conferences and other business-related features, will be available at no cost to enterprises.
Alibaba Cloud and Alipay have also launched seven significant benefits for developers, including cash offers and free cloud-computing resources.
What do you think about how the Alibaba Group is helping small businesses in China deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
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