SINGAPORE -- In January last year, Riza Fansuri was in a quandary. The 37-year-old, who runs a small food supplier in a Jakarta suburb, wanted to develop new products, but that would take money. He tried applying for loans at banks, but they all turned him down because he could not provide sufficient collateral.
Desperate for help, he turned to a website for peer-to-peer lending, a method of debt financing that allows individuals to lend and borrow money directly from each other online instead of borrowing from banks. Half in doubt, he applied for a loan, and a week later, he managed to secure the 100 million rupiah ($7,485) needed to carry out his plan. His company successfully created two new products -- instant ice cream and pudding mixes -- that now account for 40% of its sales.