China is building a credit scoring system to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) gain better access to funding.
According to a document (in Chinese) released earlier this month, the database will contain an array of records pertaining to individual SMEs including penalties and presence on government blacklists, as well as tax payments and utility bills. So far the database contains about 400,000 companies with credit scores, and those who with relatively high credit ratings will be given priority access to funding.
The database, outlined by China’s central committee and state council, is part of a broader initiative “to improve information asymmetry” between banks with loan availability and SMEs with good credit scores. Chinese tech giants including Alibaba and Tencent had been promoting their own credit rating (scoring) schemes to individuals before the central bank halted the practice and introduced a centralized, credit rating platform. The central government is ramping up efforts to support small businesses as its economy slows. In a press conference during the Two Sessions meetings, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said large state-owned commercial banks must raise their lending to SMEs by 30% this year.