Alibaba’s Ant Group, the owner of Alipay — one of the most popular mobile payment apps in China — has launched a blockchain-powered global trade platform on the eve of its hotly anticipated initial public offering. 

Named Trusple — an amalgamation of the phrase “trust made simple” — the new global trade and finance platform is a goal that Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant and Ant Group’s parent company, has strived for since 2001.  

“(Trusple) is an internal confidential project of Alibaba Group in the making for the past 19 years,” said Ant Vice President Guofei Jiang, at the blockchain platform’s recent launching ceremony in Shanghai. “In 2001, Alibaba’s B2B division wanted to solve the counterparty risks and mutual trust problems between global sellers and buyers through a secured transactions model, but B2B transactions are much more complicated than C2C. It didn’t work out.”

Nowaday, the complexity of business-to-business trade is still high, Jiang said. But blockchain technology is providing solutions to some of international trade’s most intractable problems.

Trusple aims to give small and medium-size enterprises — regardless of where they are in the world — a more efficient, convenient and secure way to do business with each other by reducing paperwork and avoiding unnecessary or malicious delays in payment, according to Ant.

When buyers and sellers make a deal on Trusple, the order details — including order placements, logistics, and tax refund options — will be documented on the chain. Also, the banks will process the payment automatically through smart contracts. 

According to Trusple’s official website, Trusple has already partnered with BNP Paribas, Ctibank, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. 

Trusple is powered by AntChain, the blockchain arm of Ant Group. Founded in 2015,  AntChain aims to provide a one-stop solution for all kinds of financial use cases for any size of enterprises. Its flagship products include Ant Financial’s blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) cloud service and OpenChain, a hybrid of permissionless chain and permissioned chain for developers to build blockchain applications.

Trusple’s debut comes on the eve of Ant Group’s mega simultaneous IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai in October, which some market watchers believe could reach $US30 billion and be the largest IPO in history

According to public documents filed by Ant Group with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Securities and Futures Commission, 40% of the funds raised by this IPO  will be invested in technology and innovation, in areas that include blockchain, artificial Intelligence, safety science, internet of things (IoT) and cloud services. 

In terms of  blockchain, Xiaoming Hu, the CEO of Ant Group, said Ant would not be investing in the technology blindly just because it’s currently one of China’s hottest sectors. 

In China, as Forkast.News has reported, many companies have jumped on the “blockchain” bandwagon in the last few years with questionable motives. For many Chinese companies, touting blockchain is a public relations gimmick with little actual blockchain-related business or technological substance.

But Ant Group, Hu said, would focus on connecting blockchain with the real economy and strive to apply the technology to solve real world business problems. 

“Gaining profits through blockchain technology is not our core goal,” said Hu, at the recent  Inclusion Fintech Conference in Shanghai, where Ant Group’s Jiang also spoke. “Our mission is to use blockchain technology to deal with the supply chain efficiency issue and solve the trust problems in global trading.”