January 28, 2015 / 7:49 AM / in 3 years

Alibaba finance arm sets up China consumer credit-scoring system

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - - The financial services affiliate of Alibaba BABA.N launched on Wednesday a system that will use the e-commerce giant’s data trove to assess the creditworthiness of Chinese consumers and businesses with little or no history at traditional lenders.

The logo of Alibaba Group is seen inside the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province early November 11, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

The credit-scoring system, Sesame Credit, will mine user data as well as payment histories from Alibaba Group Holding’s various platforms, Ant Financial Services Group in a statement.

Chief Data Scientist Yu Wujie said the system would take into consideration, among several factors, whether consumers are active Internet users, have a stable residential address and have been using the same mobile phone number for a long time.

Set up in 2014, Ant Financial has been growing rapidly, largely through targeting smaller businesses and hundreds of millions of consumers who are often underserved by China’s larger banks. Its services include payment processing, personal banking, wealth management, small business loans, personal credit and insurance.

Parent Alibaba has been using its dominant market position in e-commerce to push into the financial services market. The firm’s efforts include a money market fund for consumers, a mobile payment app and a private bank.

In November, Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma said Ant Financial, which is not part of the New York-listed company, will definitely seek a separate listing for the e-commerce company’s crown jewel, ideally on a domestic stock market.

Reporting by Engen Tham and Paul Carsten; Editing by Miral Fahmy

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