Growth of SME loans outpaces credit to large firms

Updated: 2011-02-05 14:19
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BEIJING -- Lending to China's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rose faster than loans to large enterprises last year, according to the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank.

Outstanding loans to small enterprises by banks and financial institutions jumped 29.3 percent year on year to 7.55 trillion yuan ($1.15 trillion) in 2010, while loans to medium-sized enterprises stood at 10.13 trillion yuan, up 17.8 percent, said the PBOC.

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Outstanding loans to large enterprises rose 13.3 percent to 13.42 trillion yuan, highlighting the government's efforts to optimize the loan structure, the PBOC said.

About 99 percent of Chinese enterprises are SMEs which contribute 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Financing has long been difficult for Chinese SMEs as banks prefer to lend to big companies, particularly reputable state-owned enterprises.

The government has moved to help SMEs get finance by differentiating the reserve requirement ratio for the Rural Credit Cooperative, the major lender to SMEs, and encouraging innovation in SME bond issuance.

In July last year, the PBOC asked financial institutions to establish independent criteria for approving loans to SMEs and to improve efficiency in processing SME loan applications.

The PBOC said SME loan growth would continue to accelerate this year.