Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza, which generated a record $25.3 billion in sales this year, is even affecting an obscure part of China’s debt market. The company’s financial affiliate got regulatory approval last month to sell up to 3 billion yuan ($452 million) of what it called “shopping festival” asset-backed securities. That came before the Nov. 11 Singles’ Day – when customers stock up on shoes, cosmetics, electronics and even cars in nominal celebration of singlehood. The underlying assets of the ABS are consumer loans online shoppers borrowed from Ant Financial, controlled by Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma, during the festival, according to a prospectus seen by Bloomberg News. The company issued similar securities in 2016. Ant Financial has already sold billions of dollars of structured notes this year, leading a trend in which Chinese e-commerce giants are offering more loans to cash-strapped millennials and packaging the debt into complex financial products that they then sell on to investors.
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