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Chinese Investors Flock to Peer-to-Peer Lending Services

More popular than bank investments and stocks

Despite a shaky year that saw numerous deals go wrong, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending remains a popular option for Chinese investors.

According to a poll conducted by P2P lender and AdMaster, a marketing data technology company, peer-to-peer lending remains China’s third most popular choice for investments of less than 500,000 yuan ($77,150).

Of the 5,000 people polled for the survey, 38 percent said they favor investing on P2P lending platforms, beating out bank deposits (37 percent) and stocks (35 percent) but still far behind Internet-based investment services (76 percent) and wealth management products sold by commercial banks (40 percent).

However, when considering investment in excess of 500,000 yuan, 70 percent of respondents would choose stocks rather than P2P platforms (at 56 percent).

The news of the popularity of P2P investment platforms comes at a time when they have received a lot of negative press throughout China. By the end of November, 1,157 of the platforms were reportedly facing financial problems, with either top executives absconding with investors’ money or investors having difficulty withdrawing their cash. A November report by claimed there were 32 more platforms believed to be in trouble, involving 157,000 investors and 8.27 billion yuan worth of loans.

Only 12 percent of those surveyed in the iqianjin survey believed the risk involved in P2P sites to be “fairly high”.

In response to the China Banking Regulatory Commission completing the basic draft on proposed regulations for the P2P industry, iqianjin founding partner, Yang Fan, said the CBRC is likely to require all P2P lending platforms to be backed by banks in the future, and hoped the new laws can be adopted without too much trouble.

“We look forward to the introduction of regulations on P2P lending and hope the regulations will not be too rigid. We would welcome the gradual, smooth elimination of unqualified platforms, but do not want to see any abrupt or radical reshuffle of the industry,” said Yang.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor