Alibaba dominates the e-commerce market in China. It can be considered a mix of Amazon, eBay and Paypal, adapted for the Chinese market.
The company uses big data to help its small-loan business. Analysis of cash flow, supplier- and customer-behavior records, as well as sales growth over the years, helps the assessment of credit risk.
More recently, Alibaba entered the world of fund management. It allows customers to deposit and withdraw funds whenever they like, but provide returns more similar to funds with three- to six-month lock-ins.
The use of big data here involves predicting when users will move money in and out, or to buy goods on Alibaba’s sales platform. This allows the company to invest the funds in assets with higher returns, while still managing the liquidity risk.
Alibaba is a great example of a Chinese ‘imitator-innovator’, starting off as a clone but now appears to have surpassed the original.
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(Image credit: Leon Lee)