China's Ant Group launches cross-border trade platform to support SMEs

Ant Group, the parent company of Chinese payments giant Alipay, unveiled its new Antchain-based global trade platform for small to medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs on Sep. 25.

Going by the moniker of Trusple, the platform is based around a concept of “Trust Made Simple”, and aims to streamline the process of cross-border trading. According to Guofei Jiang, President of Ant Group’s Advanced Technology Business Group: “Trusple was designed to solve problems for SMEs and financial institutions involved in cross-border trading.”

The claimed problems include a lack of trust leading to delays in shipment and payment, along with the additional banking costs associated with verifying the authenticity of orders. To alleviate these, Trusple will use Ant Group’s recently launched blockchain solution, AntChain, which includes technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and secure computation.

The buyer and seller would initially upload a trading order to the platform, which generates a smart contract on the blockchain. As the order progresses this is then updated with information on logistics, customs and duty, and other pertinent data. According to Trusple, the buyer’s and seller’s banks will then settle the payment through the smart contract on AntChain.

Cointelegraph contacted Ant Group to find out whether banks would be expected to interact directly with the blockchain smart contract, but hadn’t received a response at time of publishing.

Trusple has partnered with major international institutions such as BNP Paribas, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered, “to help optimize cross-border processes.” If Trusple can achieve its goal, and streamline the back-end supply chain and payment processing services of global trade between SMEs, then it could bring cost benefits for traders and financial institutions alike.

As Cointelegraph reported, Ant Group recently filed a $30 billion initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong and Shanghai. If successful this would make it the largest IPO of all time.

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