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Amazon to offer loans to sellers in India and seven other countries

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Amazon.com will be extending its business loan programme to small sellers in India and seven other countries later this year, reports Reuters. The Amazon Lending programme, which provides short-term working capital for sellers to expand their business, is on an invite basis only and not open to all sellers. The other countries where this programme will be extended to are Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Amazon had launched the programme in 2012 on a limited basis in the United States and Japan typically offers three to six months loans of $1,000 to $600,000 and charges an interest rates ranging from 6-14%. It makes money on interest and takes a cut of all sales on its marketplace, which now account for about 40% of total Amazon site sales, the report added.

It is interesting to note that Amazon had signed a memorandum of understanding with India’s largest lender State Bank of India last month to fund transactions and seller’s businesses. The bank is also expected to sign similar deals with PayPal and Snapdeal.

Other lending programmes by ecommerce companies in India

–  Flipkart Marketplace, is offering sellers on its platform access to easy loans through lending partners Capital Float and Lendingkart.  Flipkart Marketplace directs sellers to fill out a simple ‘expression of interest’ form, which requires sellers to indicate the expected loan amount (Rs 5 lakh to over Rs 50 lakh), select the preferred loan partner, and provide details about how they would be using the loan – to buy inventory, to improve infrastructure, to add new brands or any other reason. Sellers also need to sign a formal agreement.

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– Snapdeal had also tied-up with Capital Float to launch Capital Assist, which essentially serves the same purpose of providing sellers with easy access to working capital loans.

– As part of its trade facilitation centre (TFC), Chinese ecommerce player Alibaba has tied-up with ICICI Bank o provide trade finance and with certification company SGS to provide credit checks and inspections for the TFC. ICICI Bank will also provide business loans, cash management solutions, foreign exchange transactions, bank guarantees and cross-border remittances.

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