Alibaba's Taobao Adds China's Largest Bad-Loan Manager

  • Huarong latest to sell bad assets on Taobao online marketplace
  • Huarong assets worth $8 billion are up for sale on Taobao

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has signed up China’s largest bad loans manager to sell troubled assets through its online marketplace as the e-commerce giant seeks to extend its reach beyond retail sales.

China Huarong Asset Management Co. is putting bad assets worth as much as 51.5 billion yuan ($8 billion) for sale on Alibaba’s Taobao.com, Huarong said in a statement Tuesday. Huarong will solicit investor interest for the assets for 90 days, and auctions will be held through Taobao when there’s enough interest for any of the assets, Huarong said.

Alibaba’s retail platform, which has about 386 million active consumers, provides an additional channel to get the best deals for Huarong’s assets, Zhang Yiming, a general manager at Huarong, told reporters in Beijing.

Alibaba logged a record 91.2 billion yuan in sales during its Singles’ Day promotion last month, an indication of its reach among Chinese consumers.

The Beijing-based bad loan manager is joining rival China Cinda Asset Management Co. and courthouses across the country trying to dispose of non-performing assets through Taobao as China’s deepest economic slowdown in more than two decades weighs on borrowers’ ability to pay back debt.

Cinda announced in May that it would seek to sell more than 4 billion yuan of bad assets through Taobao. Huarong and Cinda are among four state-owned asset-management companies set up during the banking crisis of the late 1990s to oversee 1.4 trillion yuan of nonperforming loans.

Huarong’s assets to be sold through Taobao are no more than three years old. About two-thirds of the assets are from coastal manufacturing hubs such as Zhejiang, Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces, Huarong’s Zhang said.

Chinese banks’ non-performing loans at the end of September were at their highest level since the global financial crisis, according to figures released by the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to show the number of Alibaba users.)

— With assistance by Aipeng Soo

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