Lending transactions via China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms reached 982.3 billion yuan (about 151 bln U.S. dollars) in 2015, up 288.6 percent from 252.8 billion yuan in 2014, an Internet financial services web portal said.
China’s P2P lending platforms have cumulatively brokered 1.37 trillion yuan as of the end of December, according to an annual report issued by Wangdaizhijia.com. The report counted 2,595 P2P platforms across the country, an increase of 1,020 compared with the 2014 figure.
But the number of P2P platforms will not grow substantially in the coming year as China tightens regulations over P2P lending, the report said. A draft regulation, released on Monday and open for public opinion until Jan. 27, will impose 12 restrictions on P2P platforms, prohibiting them from accepting public deposits, pooling investors’ money to fund their own projects, or providing any kind of guarantee for lenders.
P2P lending, or lending done without a traditional financial intermediary such as a bank, has grown quickly in China in the past few years as investors seek higher returns than bank deposits, while small businesses find it easier to secure funds through P2P platforms.
The lack of supervision, however, has made the industry risky for investors as some P2P platforms have been implicated in shady fund raising. A total of 896 platforms reported operational problems in 2015, more than three times that of 2014, the report showed.