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May 5, 2015

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China’s P2P loans rise to record US$8.9b in April

CHINA’S peer-to-peer lending in April surged 2.7-fold from a year earlier to a record 55.1 billion yuan (US$8.9 billion), according to a web portal tracking the sector.

That slowed from a 3.5-fold surge in March, Online Lending House said yesterday.

Some funds which invested in smaller peer-to-peer lending platforms shifted to the stock market, which has been enjoying a bull run. Those platforms tend to draw more speculative investors seeking quick profits.

“Investment in large platforms is less affected because the investors there seek more stable returns and are less concerned about the rate of return,” said Ma Jun, chief research officer at Shanghai Ying Can Investment Management Consulting Co.

Peer-to-peer lending websites allow individuals to borrow money from other individuals without going through banks or other traditional financial institutions. The practice is becoming increasingly popular in China because borrowers get easier access to loans and lenders get higher interest.

The sector is facing tighter regulation from the China Banking Regulatory Commission amid concerns about the quality and security of some of the businesses involved in the industry.

Online Lending House estimates there were 52 fraudulent platforms still operating last month, down from 56 in March. Ma said scams won’t be washed from the system until regulators issue rules governing peer-to-peer lending.

Drafted rules are expected to be issued by the end of June.

“The market is still optimistic about the sector,” Ma added. “We expect the overall trading volume of the sector to touch 800 billion yuan in 2015.”


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