Shadow Banking in China – Implications of Defaults

While informal lending is significant, it is not big enough to bring down the entire system.


  • Informal lending, or shadow banking, has become very active across China since earlier this year
  • It has recently caught both media and government attention after multiple cases of “underground trust” went burst
  • The situation is worst in Wenzhou, where a number of business owners have gone into hiding or even committed suicide


  • A credit tightening policy was implemented by People’s Bank of China in early 2011
  • The state-owned banks prefer to lend to state-owned enterprises and large private companies, leaving little credit available to SMEs
  • Negative real interest rate and lack of investment choices prompt people to seek a higher return through informal lending


  • The non-performing loan ratio is going to rise during any economic slowdown, triggering defaults among informal lending entities, many of which are ponzi schemes
  • The most risky form of informal lending is curb market lending, where many uninformed individuals and small companies will put money together to lend to highly risky or even “phantom” projects with virtually no due diligence
  • The informal lending market is estimated to be one-fifth the size of the total loan market, while the curb market lending is about 1/3 of total informal lending. While these numbers are significant, they are not big enough to bring down the entire system



Trace the Lights III: Using FSG’s Clustering Approach in China

Following up from my last blog post on China’s blueprint for developing 19 city clusters by 2020 from the New National Urbanization Plan, FSG has gone one step further and analyzed the clusters beyond the policy level to help MNCs craft a cluster-based go-to-market strategy. My recently published piece on China’s evolving customer base and urbanization […]

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