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Alibaba's financial firm launches credit-scoring system

English.news.cn   2015-01-29 07:12:38

HANGZHOU, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- A financial affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba launched a credit-scoring system similar to the FICO score in the United States, the first after China's central bank opened personal credit reporting market to commercial institutions.

Sesame Credit, launched by Ant Financial Services Group, will base its assessment on information including a customer's credit card repayment, online purchase records, house rental and social networking.

The data will come from various sources including Alibaba's e-commerce platform and the police, said Yu Wujie, chief scientist of Sesame Credit. Its service will be activated only upon customers' request.

Yu said customers with high credit scores might enjoy favorable treatment in future business, including avoiding paying deposit during hotel check-ins or easier visa procedures. The credit scores can even be provided as a reference for future match-making.

Sesame Credit has already cooperated with partners in a variety of fields, according to Yu.

"Your credit will be like your calling card," Yu said.

The launch of the service marks a major step in building a national credit system, which the Chinese government has promised to speed up to improve the society's often-criticized credibility.

It followed a circular issued by the People's Bank of China earlier this month that allowed eight institutions to conduct personal credit reports, including Sesame Credit and Tencent Credit Co., operated by Chinese Internet giant Tencent.

Industry observers say the new service mainly targets Chinese internet users, including students and those without a credit card and thus uncovered by traditional credit scoring methods.

"But its effect is still to be seen. Whether it can reflect a person's credit conditions largely depends on whether there is sufficient data on his or her behaviors," said Wang Wei, professor of finance with Zhejiang University.

Alibaba operates China's largest consumer-to-consumer (C2C) shopping site Taobao. Its financial arm Alipay is the country's largest e-payment provider.

Editor: Yang Yi
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