The share of private companies in China’s bond market is steadily expanding, as financial regulators look to broaden the scope of fixed-income markets, The Wall Street Journal reported. Private companies issued RMB34.7 billion (US$5.5 billion) in bonds during 2011, up from just RMB3.8 billion in 2010. While growing rapidly, however, that figure still accounts for just 2.5% of the total RMB1.4 trillion in bonds issued last year. China’s bond market is the second-biggest in Asia after Japan, but it remains largely closed to foreign investors and focused on infrastructure projects and state-owned enterprise debt. Deeper and more diversified fixed-income markets will be critical if China continues to internationalize its currency and become open to global capital flows. Regulators are thought to be allowing more private companies to issue debt, which SMEs may find easier than acquiring a bank loan.