Alibaba’s finance affiliate has banned consumer loan products that charge annual interest rates above 24% from its marketing platform. The step is the latest sign of how tighter regulation is reshaping China’s once-freewheeling internet lending industry. Online consumer lending has boomed over the past year, according to the Financial Times. Small-loan companies that lend online using their own capital have largely replaced peer-to-peer lenders as the main source of online consumer and small-business loans, following a regulatory crackdown on P2P. Initial public offerings in the US by Chinese groups Qudian and Ppdai have highlighted investor enthusiasm for the sector. But regulators have recently declared their intention to tighten regulation on the sector, which has hit the shares of listed groups. Authorities are concerned about a range of issues related to online loans, including default risk, abusive collection tactics and diversion of loan funds into the real estate market. Qudian and PPdai have also faced allegations that their IPO disclosures are misleading.
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