Ant Financial-backed online lender MYbank has announced the provision of a raft of interest free loans to small vendors in the city of Wuhan as it emerges from lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Starting from 8 April MYbank will provide loans that are free of interest for a period of one month to up to 360,000 street-side vendors, micro-enterprises and individual industrial and commercial registrants in the city of Wuhan.
The move coincides with the removal of a lockdown on the city which was first imposed back on 23 January, following the emergence of the COVID-19 disease in the Hubei-province capital.
The interest-free loans are part of the “Non-contact Loan Micro-assistance Plan” (无接触贷款助微计划) unveiled by MYbank and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce on 5 March.
The Plan hopes to provide financial support to around 10 million micro-and-small enterprises (MSE’s) around China for the resumption of work and production in the wake of the COVID-19, as well as efforts to expand production.
MYbank expects to provide around 10 billion yuan in funds to these businesses, and said that it would be responsible for bearing all interest costs for the discount loans.
“Wuhan prides itself on its commerce,” said MYbank president Jin Xiaolong (金晓龙). “We are full of confidence in the recovery of Wuhan’s economy, so we have adopted interest-free measures for the whole city, and hope to fully support Wuhan.”
A nationwide survey of 20,000 small businesses in China found that around 80% of them faced funding shortfalls.