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ZestFinance joins hands with JD to provide consumer credit scoring service in China

美国大数据公司进军信用记录缺乏的中国市场.jpg

Financial technology start-ups are creating new models of lending. They mine streams of digital data with clever software to calculate creditworthiness instead of relying on a person’s credit history, the main ingredient in traditional credit scoring.

一些面向金融领域的科技初创公司正在推出新的贷款模式。它们用智能软件挖掘电子数据流来计算信誉,而不是像传统的信用评分那样,以个人的信用记录为基础。

So far, the new breed of big data lenders has focused on niche markets — recent college graduates, immigrants and payday borrowers — where people often have scant or inconsistent repayment records, and the conventional math of risk analysis stumbles.

目前已经有一帮新生的“大数据放款机构”专注于在利基市场上——刚毕业的大学生、移民和发薪日借款人。这类人的还款记录往往很少,或者不连贯,使用传统的风险分析数学手段效果不佳。

ZestFinance, a pioneer in the field, is moving into a huge market where credit histories are scarce: China.

ZestFinance是这个领域的先驱之一,目前正步入一个信用记录稀少的庞大市场:中国。

ZestFinance and JD.com, a Chinese online retail giant, are announcing a joint venture to provide a consumer credit scoring service in China. The venture, JD-ZestFinance Gaia, will initially be used to assess credit risk and offer installment loans for purchases on JD.com, which has 100 million active customers and generates yearly revenue of $20 billion. The venture intends to eventually offer the credit-analysis service to corporate customers throughout China.

ZestFinance和中国网络零售巨头京东宣布成立一家合资公司,在中国市场上提供消费者信贷评分服务。京东拥有1亿活跃用户,年营收达200亿美元。这家合资企业名为JD-ZestFinance Gaia,最初将为京东上的分期贷款购物行为评估信贷风险。公司打算最终为中国各地的企业客户提供信用分析服务。

JD.com sought out ZestFinance, tested its technology and came away impressed. Last fall, Chen Shengqiang, chief executive of the Chinese company’s finance unit, visited the ZestFinance offices in Los Angeles and spoke to Mr. Merrill and members of his team. Soon after, Mr. Merrill traveled to the Chinese company’s headquarters in Beijing to work on setting up a test of ZestFinance’s technology, working with JD.com data.

京东找到了ZestFinance,测试了它的技术,并对它印象深刻。去年秋天,京东金融集团的首席执行官陈胜强参观了ZestFinance位于洛杉矶的办公室,并与梅里尔及其团队的成员进行交谈。不久后,梅里尔前往北京的京东总部,用该公司的数据对ZestFinance的技术进行了一次测试。

In China, JD.com had a very different assignment for ZestFinance, using different data sources than in America. Only 20 percent of Chinese adults have a credit score, and they often are given credit through the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank, and through affiliations with large state-owned corporations.

在中国,京东交给ZestFinance的任务则大不相同,而且使用的数据源也有异于美国。在中国成年人中,只有20%拥有信用评分。他们获得信用的途径往往是通过央行中国人民银行,或是与大型国有企业之间的关系。

Across the broader population, lending tends to be more personal and informal — cash loans from networks of friends and relatives.

在更多的中国民众那里,贷款往往具有更加个人化的非正式性质——从亲戚朋友那里借钱。

But China’s leaders are seeking to stimulate consumer spending to make its economy less dependent on industrial exports. Expanding consumer credit is part of the formula, and the government is allowing private companies, like JD.com, to innovate.

但是中国领导层正在努力刺激消费,以使中国经济减轻对工业出口的依赖。扩大消费信贷是整个策略的一部分,政府准许如京东这样的私营企业在这一领域进行创新。

Since early 2014, JD.com had been offering its own consumer loans of up to a few thousand dollars for purchases of televisions, smartphones, computers, refrigerators and other merchandise. JD.com’s business model is sometimes compared to a combination of Amazon and UPS.

自2014年初开始,京东一直给它的用户提供贷款,最高达几千美元,用以购买电视、智能手机、电脑、冰箱和其他商品。京东的商业模式有时被比作亚马逊加UPS。

Like Amazon, the company buys goods from manufacturers and has a national network of distribution centers and warehouses. It also has its own fleet of delivery vans. JD.com handles more than two million orders a day, and offers next-day delivery in much of China. It is a full-service online retailer, unlike its better-known rival, Alibaba, whose marketplace connects buyers and sellers.

和亚马逊一样,京东也是从制造商那里进货,并建设了全国性的物流和仓储网络。此外,它还有自己的厢式送货车配送队伍。京东的日均交易处理量达200多万单,在中国大部分地区可实现下单次日送达。与它更为知名的对手阿里巴巴(其业务领域是作为一个平台,在买家和卖家之间搭桥)不同,京东是一个提供全方位服务的在线零售商。

In its test run for the Chinese company, ZestFinance built risk models using JD.com transaction data: what people buy, when they buy it, what brands they choose, where they live and other nuggets of information in the sales data.

在为其中国公司进行测试时,ZestFinance利用京东的交易数据——包括人们买什么、何时买、选什么品牌、住在哪里,及交易数据中其他有价值的信息——建立了风险模型。

In its test, the creditworthiness predictions made by ZestFinance were compared to the results of JD.com’s experience making loans, which was essentially the control group. The ZestFinance algorithms won handily.

在测试中,ZestFinance所作的资信预测,与京东自身放贷的结果作了对比,后者实质上就是对照组。ZestFinance的算法轻松胜出。

The Chinese online retailer, said Josh Gartner, senior director for international communications for JD.com, hopes to “greatly improve the efficiency of deciding who should be offered credit or not.”

京东国际公关高级总监约什·加德纳表示,京东希望能“大大提高其贷款决策的效率”。

Data science methods, Mr. Gartner added, can fill a gap “where traditional metrics tend to be less useful, and China would obviously be one of those places.”

加德纳补充道,数据科学的方法可以在“传统衡量方法表现欠佳的地方”填补一个空白,“中国显然就是一个这样的地方”。

In a statement, Mr. Chen pointed to the potential value of the joint venture beyond JD.com itself. He called the link-up with ZestFinance “a foundational step toward building a reliable system for assessing credit risk that will help meet the huge market need.”

陈胜强在一份声明中指出了这一合资公司在京东之外的潜在价值。他将京东和ZestFinance的联合描述为“在建立可靠的信用风险评估系统,从而满足广阔的市场需求方面,是基础性的一步。”

2016-06-24

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