HANGZHOU, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Group”) has released its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, detailing its efforts to leverage the power of digital technology to build a better future, particularly as communities across the globe continue to grapple with challenges posed by COVID-19.
At the heart of Ant Group’s CSR efforts is a commitment to finding innovative yet simple ways to leverage digital technology and create a digital life that is accessible for all. In the current economic climate, the need to bridge the digital gap – that remains a hindrance for many people around the world – and thereby empower people is more pressing than ever.
As the CSR report shows, digital technologies have the power to invigorate social economic development and support stable and long-term economic growth. Inclusive finance programs that leverage digital technologies empower the small and micro-sized economy, an important part of China’s economy.
As of the end of 2019, MYbank, a leading online private commercial bank under Ant Group, had served 20.87 million Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) and individually owned businesses, of which 80% had never obtained a business loan from a bank before.
“Digital technology has played a pivotal role in combating COVID-19 and enabling consumers and businesses to resume work and life as soon as possible,” says Eric Jing, Executive Chairman of Ant Group. “Now more than ever, we recognize the power of digital technology to transcend geographical and information gaps and help countries and institutions work together, be it during natural disasters or in daily life. Together, we can leverage technology to build a better society for the future.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, Alipay has launched a variety of services and measures to mitigate the impact on individuals and SMEs and support their road to recovery. Many of the digital lifestyle service platforms enabled by Alipay have also played an important role in creating jobs and employment opportunities during the pandemic. Initiatives include:
- Launching the “Anti-COVID-19 Express Services,” a dedicated section in the Alipay app, in late January to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on people’s daily lives. The section aggregates services provided by partners supporting this initiative, including: real-time updates on COVID-19; online medical consultations; online grocery delivery services; and enabling donations to charitable organizations via Alipay. As of mid-February, these services had saved users from making at least 90 million trips out of their homes, helping to protect them during the pandemic.
- Enabling multiple regions across China to distribute consumption coupons via Alipay mini program, spurring economic growth as SMEs continue to resume regular business operations. Since March 2020, cities including Nanjing, Hefei, Hangzhou, and Wenzhou, amongst others, have distributed consumption coupons worth over RMB4 billion to citizens via Alipay.
- MYbank also announced a series of measures, including waiving or cutting interest rates, to help small and micro business owners overcome the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially those at the epicenter in Hubei Province. Further, merchants using the Alipay platform can also apply for loans offered by the “Contactless Loans” initiative jointly launched by MYbank and 100 partner banks in China.
In 2019, Alipay also reviewed its alignment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), identifying a clear focus on 11 goals. Moving forward, Alipay’s efforts will focus on mapping out a blueprint to continue connecting Alipay’s core capabilities with the UN SDGs, thus contributing to the realization of the global sustainable development agenda.
Meanwhile, Ant Group’s long-standing environmental and philanthropic efforts continue to grow and benefit society. Alipay Ant Forest, the signature tree planting program on Alipay launched in 2016, continues to inspire and attract new users. As of May 2020, Alipay Ant Forest has attracted 550 million users to plant 200 million real trees, reducing carbon emission by 12 million tons. Further, on September 19, 2019, Alipay Ant Forest was awarded the United Nation’s highest environmental honor – the “UN Champions of the Earth” award – for inspiring over half a billion people to take action in their daily lives and adopt greener lifestyles, and helping protect the environment through the power of digital technology. One week later, Alipay Ant Forest won the 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award for using digital technologies to scale up climate action.
Meanwhile, the Alipay Love Online Donation platform, which was launched in 2008 to initially help raise funds for disaster relief efforts in post-earthquake Wenchuan, had raised over RMB 3 billion as of March 2020.
As a responsible corporate citizen and an innovative technology provider that aims to bring inclusive financial services to the world, Ant Group issues a CSR report every year, capturing the key initiatives and milestones the Group has achieved in leveraging technology to build a better society for the future.
Internally, Ant Group encourages every employee to participate in community service projects, resulting in over 60,000 staff volunteer hours in 2020.
For the full report, please click https://www.antfin.com/responsibility.htm
About Ant Group
Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Group”) is dedicated to using technology to bring the world equal opportunities. Our technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence, security, Internet of Things and computing empower us and our ecosystem partners to serve the unbanked and underbanked, bringing more secure, transparent, cost-effective and inclusive financial services to individuals and small and micro-sized individual customer and small businesses worldwide.
Ant Group has formed international partnerships with global strategic partners to serve local users in those markets, and we serve Chinese travelers overseas by connecting Alipay with online and offline merchants. Brands under Ant Group include Alipay, Ant Fortune, MYbank, and WorldFirst. For more information, please visit our website at www.antfin.com or follow us on Twitter @AntFinancial.