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Insiders Call for Integration between Internet Financing and Banks
   2015-01-26 19:29:54    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Yin Xiuqi

A poster of "Big Data Internet finance" is seen during the 2014 China International Electronic Commerce Expo in Yiwu, east China's Zhejiang Province, April 10, 2014. The three-day expo kicked off on Thursday. [Photo: Xinhua]

Chinese financial industry observers are calling for an integration of the country's traditional financial institutions and the emerging internet financing market.

The call comes amid an explosion of internet financing, which the same observers are suggesting is beginning to challenge China's state-dominated financial industry.

CRI's Yin Xiuqi with more.

 

Internet finance is still a relatively new thing in China, having only come into existence less than two years ago.

In June, 2013, Alibaba launched Yu'ebao, one of the first and so far the most popular internet financial product in China.

Yu'ebao allows customers to invest money through Alipay, Alibaba's online-payment service.

Since coming into existence, Yu'ebao has attracted investments worth over 90-billion US dollars as of the end of last year.

The main draw is that Yu'ebao provides higher returns compared to the savings rate at a bank, which is generally below the rate of inflation, meaning money left in a Chinese bank account will depreciate in value over time.

It's estimated that around 60 percent of China's more than 600 million Internet users have used Internet financing products.

This had led to calls to reign in the sector, with the banking industry complaining that it's been diverting investments from banks and other traditional financial institutions.

Shao Ping, governor of Shenzhen-based Ping'an Bank, is among those now calling for integration between internet financing and well-established financial institutions.

"Somebody says internet finance is challenging or even overthrowing traditional financial institutions. But I think that is not the case. It's true that internet finance has increased the competition. But more important, it brings about integration and innovation in the financial sector."

Wang Yanxiu with the China Banking Regulatory Commission says traditional financial institutions can take lessons from what the internet financing sector has been doing, particularly when it comes to offering targeted loans to those in need.

"Internet financing products should continue to target micro businesses and individuals. The internet should not be used as a platform to just raise funds. It should be used as a way to spread risks and slash the cost of financing for businesses. So internet companies and financial companies should both develop more convenient and useful financial products for investors and borrowers."

Some observers say internet financing services, including crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending, can help to break the stranglehold state-owned finance once held on those looking to fund a new business.

But risks involved in the new sector are still concerning.

The number of internet-based financing platforms that went bankrupt or had difficulty repaying money climbed to 275 last year from 76 in 2013.

Chinese police are currently investigating a pair of Sina Corporation online wealth products for alleged illegal fundraising worth over 50 million yuan.

The central government has been working on new guidelines for internet financing.

Those are due sometime in the first half of this year.

For CRI, I'm Yin Xiuqi.

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