Grameen Trust of Bangladesh and Alibaba Group have joined hands to create the Grameen China initiative, an effort to provide micro-credit financial services to China’s poorest residents to create income generating opportunities and help lift them to a higher standard of living.
Grameen China’s initial focus will be in Sichuan, which is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in May 2008 and Inner Mongolia, with plans to grow to other provinces with the help of additional partners.
In support of this effort, Grameen China will be built and managed by Grameen Trust using the microfinance model pioneered by Grameen Bank and employing Chinese staffers from each region. As Grameen’s lead partner in this effort, Alibaba Group is providing initial funding for the creation of Grameen China through a charitable donation of US$5 million. In addition, Alibaba Group will advise in areas like technology-based support to help potential recipients access the program and eventually build their businesses online.
Alibaba Group will also help Grameen Trust attract potential supporting partners and other donors to the effort. Grameen China expects to begin making micro-credit loans available as soon as it receives regulatory approval from the authorities.