China has begun allowing non-financial companies to sell bonds through private placements in the country’s latest efforts to extend its corporate bond market and reduce companies’ reliance on bank loans, the Wall Street Journal reported. China’s National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors issued the new rules on Friday, which went into effect immediately. Previous rules confined non-financial companies to issuing bonds in the public market, while only institutional investors could sell and circulate private-placement bonds. Chinese companies had roughly US$615 billion outstanding in corporate bonds by the end of February, far below the US$7.5 trillion worth of outstanding renminbi loans, the NAFMII, which is backed by the central bank, said in a statement. “Allowing such firms to enter the domestic bond market can promote depth and diversity in the market, boosting the development of a high-yield corporate bond market,” Wang Yingfeng, a bond analyst at Shanghai Securities, said.