China is preparing to tighten regulation of online consumer lending as part of a campaign against financial risks, dealing a possible setback to Chinese fintech groups that hope to sell shares in the US, the Financial Times reports. Household debt in China remains low as a share of GDP, and authorities have encouraged growth of consumer credit as a way to rebalance the economy towards consumer spending, but now concerns are rising about irresponsible lending practices online. At a forum on internet finance on Saturday, a central bank official said that regulatory agencies will guard against risks from rapid growth of consumer lending. Online consumer lending has replaced peer-to-peer lending as the trendy new area in Chinese fintech, as a regulatory crackdown on P2P reduced that sector’s profitability. Short-term consumer loans outstanding in China grew by Rmb1.49tn ($225bn) through the first nine months of this year, compared to an increase of Rmb830bn for all of 2016, according to PBOC data.
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