Lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounted for 51.9 percent of the total loans to enterprises in 2008, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the central bank, said on Friday at a press conference during the 2nd Session of the 11th National People's Congress.
"Loans to SMEs in 2008 increased 13.5 percent year-on-year. In the first two months of 2009, bank lending to SMEs increased more because a lot of SMEs raised money via bill discounts (an act by which the legal holder of a commercial bill transfers it to the bank to acquire cash before its maturity date),” Zhou said.
"Increased financing for commercial bills has helped to fund SMEs greatly," he noted.
Chinese banks issued 1.62 trillion yuan in new loans in January, up 101 percent year-on-year, the central bank said on Feb 12. Commercial bill financing was 620 billion yuan, accounting for 38 percent of the total new loans.