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Simplifying a fragmented, multi-step process at SCI Ecommerce

  • Article

SCI Group (SCI) has a network of companies that form Southeast Asia's largest digital commerce technology and solution provider.

Headquartered in Singapore with local offices in ASEAN and China, SCI was the third-fastest growing company on the Financial Times' 2021 Asia-Pacific ranking. It was also rated the second-fastest growing Singapore company in 2022 by The Straits Times.

Since being founded in 2011, SCI has worked with over 300 leading global and Southeast Asian brands, venturing locally and overseas. In recent years, SCI has also penetrated China's cross-border e-commerce market.

SCI helps local and international brands, as well as offline retailers, grow their businesses on the region’s digital-commerce platforms and China’s cross-border channels, such as Shopee, Lazada, Tiktok, Tmall/Alibaba and JD.

The Challenge

The pandemic has prompted a US$5 trillion shift in annual global retail sales from offline to online1. Between 2020 and 2021, the digital payments executed by HSBC’s corporate clients grew by 58%.

SCI was also experiencing high trading volumes, which meant the company needed more time to process supplier payments – especially during peak sales periods.

  • Each transaction required SCI to follow up with trade documents for every loan drawdown.
  • These trade applications were processed manually, leading to supplier-payment delays if, for instance, any discrepancies were found.
  • In the e-commerce industry, delays in supplier payments can cause a domino effect on procurement timelines, shipments, and the delivery of products to end-consumers.

The Solution

HSBC worked closely with SCI to understand its working-capital challenges and identify a way to digitalise and accelerate its financing needs. The solution was HSBC’s Trade Working Capital (TWC) programme.

TWC creates a faster and simpler environment that allows SCI to draw on a loan to meet supplier payments immediately.

  • TWC offers a single loan that supports supplier payments and covers SCI’s entire working-capital gap.
  • Given its simple and fully digital structure, TWC lets SCI draw on a loan just in time for instant supplier payments, with real-time advice notes to SCI and its suppliers.
  • Loans can be processed in under a minute. The legacy practice of submitting and manually reviewing individual photocopies of invoices and transport documentation is replaced with our Global Customer Surveillance tool, which uses Artificial Intelligence and Network Analytics to improve risk management.

The Outcome

  • TWC is a solution that digitalises and simplifies a previously fragmented, multi-stage process for SCI into a single step.
  • TWC streamlines and accelerates the company’s financing requirements, covering SCI’s entire cycle from procurement to sales.
  • Time is saved on loan-related paperwork, giving SCI greater control over its payments. This enhances SCI’s brand and reputation within the industry. It also drives business growth through more sustainable supplier relationships.

As long-term strategic partners, SCI Group and HSBC work closely to provide our customers with the best solutions and services. It is our great pleasure to be part of HSBC's Trade Working Capital (TWC) this year.

Robin Yang | Chief Financial Officer, SCI Group

The demand for accelerated financing is challenging banks to innovate and digitalise. HSBC’s investment in cutting-edge digital solutions and artificial intelligence is helping lead the exit out of the paper era. It lets us release financing within seconds of a customer’s payment request. This is radically improving process efficiency, risk management, and the customer experience.

Iain Morrison | Managing Director & Head of Global Trade Solutions, HSBC Singapore
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