China's Alibaba Group is not only the world's largest e-commerce company, but it is also an innovator in microfinance. Alibaba leverages big data to link rural villages with the goods, sales channels and financial services they need to grow their businesses.
China's pilot of 500,000 banking agents show significant promise for financial inclusion. Allowing these agents to offer a greater variety of services, such as taking deposits and opening new accounts, could lead to faster growth and more usage.
QR codes last year facilitated $2.5 trillion in retail payments in China, and their use is gaining momentum in countries like India. But how do they work? And what is their potential to increase financial inclusion?
Here at CGAP we love to draw global lessons about financial inclusion from our interaction with stakeholders in various countries. But we often neglect learning from the latest innovations in the developed world since we assume that the differences between these countries and the ones we are most interested in are too great. Last year, a few of us attended the annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum organized by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) and returned again this year to learn about the latest innovations in the U.S. market.