1.1 Research background研究背景
隨著中國政府實施多元化經濟政策，近幾十年來，中國中小企業迅速發展壯大（Chung和Tan，2017年），統計報告顯示，截至2016年12月，99%的本土企業為中小企業，其中占國內生產總值65%以上和稅收50%以上的部分對國民經濟的貢獻（張等，2016；李，T.，穆尼爾和卡里姆，2017）。此外，中小企業在為居民創造就業機會方面具有巨大潛力。因此，很明顯，中國的中小企業在促進國家繁榮與穩定所依賴的平衡和可持續增長方面具有重大意義（張等，2016；鄭和譚，2017）。With the implementation of diversified economic policies by Chinese government, China’s SMEs has been grown and expanded rapidly in recent decades (Chung and Tan, 2017) The statistical report indicates that 99% of the local companies are small and medium-size enterprises as of December 2016, with the contribution of more than 65% of total GDP and 50% of tax revenue to the national economic (Zhang et al., 2016; Li, T., Munir and Karim, 2017). In addition, SMEs have significant potential in creating of employment opportunities for residents. Hence, it is obviously that China’s SMEs have great significance in contributing towards balanced and sustainable growth upon which national prosperity and stability depends (Zhang et al., 2016; Chung and Tan, 2017).
然而，由于國內經濟放緩、經濟結構調整進一步深化和經濟結構調整的共同作用，中小企業面臨原材料成本和勞動力成本快速增長、出口競爭力下降、訂單需求下降等問題（張等，2016）。中央銀行推動的貨幣政策。因此，融資難已成為制約我國中小企業進一步發展的瓶頸（張、X、P、謝，2010；尹，2009）。However, numbers of SMEs are suffered from the problems of rapidly increased raw material costs and labor costs, weakened export competitiveness and reduced demand for order (Zhang et al., 2016), as a result of the joint effect of domestic slowdown, further deepening of economic restructuring and tight monetary policy promoted by the central bank. Therefore, financing difficulty has become the bottleneck which hindered the further development of China’s SMEs (Zhang, X. P. and Xie, 2010; Yin, 2009).
因此，幫助中小企業滿足融資需求對開發融資工具越來越重要。At present, it is hard for SMEs to obtain the fund support through direct financing, and indirect financing such as bank loan still occupies a leading position as the major channel for SMEs to raise capital (He and Xue, 2008). The empirical result points out that the bank, when they offer loans in the traditional financing model, tends to assess the customer from the perspective of its credit rating condition, mortgage assets valuation, operational condition and debt paying ability. But lack of real estate available for collateral purpose to obtain bank loan, becomes the common characteristic of most SMEs in China, which may due to the restriction of their operation scales (Xia and Jin, 2011). Their assets mainly consist of inventories, accounts receivables and equipment, which could not meet bank’s requirement. In addition, with its scrupulously balanced analysis of risks and benefits, it is a fact that SMEs are usually not the preferred customers of financial institutions due to their poor information transparency, high transaction costs and low default costs, as compared to other credit business (Zhang and Xie, 2010; Yin, 2009).
Therefore, it is becoming increasingly crucial for the development of a financing tool to help SMEs to meet their financing needs.
It is in this context that Supply-chain Finance has been innovated and developed gradually to provide a viable solution in relieving the financing problem of SMEs (Julian, 2011). As compared with the traditional bank credit, the focus of its credit evaluation is not limited to a single enterprise isolated, but to the entire product supply chain as a whole (Guillen and Badell, 2006). In short, supply chain finance refers to a series of financing processes based on technology that combines a large-scale core enterprise with its upstream and downstream firms in a transaction, to provide a flexible financial service at lower cost (Guillen and Badell, 2006). The main concept of this financing model is to integrate the suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers effectively, while funds serve as the lubricant, helping the whole process to be more efficiency and quickly (Julian, 2011; Guillen and Badell, 2006).
Compared with other financing modes, supply chain finance focuses on the trade background and cooperative relations, and it dilutes the traditional risk control methods based on corporate financial ratio and collateral, which widens the financing way of SMEs (Xia and Jin, 2011). For banks, supply chain finance in its development takes supply chain as a starting point, which can bring more customers to banks to enhance the competitiveness of banks and create new profit growth point (Zhang, X. P. and Xie,). However, the domestic development of supply chain finance in China is not yet mature, due to economic fundamentals, laws, systems and other reasons, more mature business model in the West fails to develop perfectly in China, through research on supply chain finance, it can combine Western experience with China’s domestic reality to help banks to create more supply chain financial products which are in line with domestic characteristics (Yin, 2009). In addition, supply chain finance as a financial innovation model faces the same risk as traditional credit model faces, but it also has its own distinctive characteristics. Supply chain finance has the form of accounts receivable, inventory pledge mode, confirming storage mode and other modes of operation, the operational risk and risk control methods are different (Zhang and Xie, 2010); in carrying out credit risk assessment on SMEs, supply chain finance emphasizes trade background and supply chain operation relation, the credit evaluation method should be different from the traditional method (Zhang and Xie, 2010); and the market risk caused by price fluctuation will make the collateral value not enough to lead to the moral hazard of SMEs, through a certain way to transfer or circumvent the market risk should also be concerned about (Yin, 2009). Therefore, to know the risk of supply chain finance and to control it reasonably is necessary for ensuring the smooth implementation of business.
1.3 Research aim & research objectives
The research aims to discuss how supply chain finance can help China's SMEs to deal with issues of financing in development process. Based on this, it has developed the following research objectives:
Research objective 1: to discuss what the financing needs that SMEs have in China's current economic situation;
Research objective 2: to understand what the current operation model of supply chain finance of SMEs in China is;
Research objective 3: to explore whether China's supply chain finance meets the financing needs of SMEs and to understand what new and old risks in current implementation of supply chain finance are;
Research objective 4: to recommend on China's future development of supply chain finance for SMEs.
1.4 Research questions
On the basis of the above research aim and research objectives, the author develops the following research questions.
Research question 1: What are the changes in China's SME financing compared to the past in China's new economy? Considering from the financing channels, the cost of financing, the flexibility of borrowing, financial information disclosure, financing and other aspects, what do contemporary SMEs need for financing?
Research question 2: How does the supply chain finance of Chinese SMEs operate? What are the respective roles that core enterprises, banks, SMEs play in the supply chain finance?
Research question 3: Considering from the aspects of financing channels, the cost of financing, the flexibility of borrowing, financial information disclosure and financing methods, in what aspect does contemporary Chinese supply chain finance fail to match the financing needs of SMEs. And judging from China's economic policy, financial policy, the characteristics of SMEs, what are reasons leading to the inconformity? What are new and old risks in current implementation of China’s supply chain finance?
Research question 4: In terms of the financing channels, the cost of financing, the flexibility of borrowing, financial information disclosure, financing methods and other aspects of China's SMEs, what should the supply chain finance model be improved in the future? From the perspective of improving the financial management level, improving the accounting system, strengthening the professional and technical level of financial personnel and strengthening the financial management consciousness of SMEs, how SMEs can benefit more from the supply chain finance?
2.0 Literature review