Lenders step up efforts to serve real economy

Latest move part of nation's push toward high-quality development of financial sector with unique Chinese characteristics

By LIU ZHIHUA and LIU ZIZHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-07 10:14
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A bank staff member (right) inquires about the use of loan funds at a textile factory in Haian, Jiangsu province, in December. [PHOTO/CHINA DAILY]

China's commercial and policy banks have been ramping up efforts to better serve the real economy, through investing in technology finance, green finance, inclusive finance, pension finance and digital finance, according to bank executives.

Experts said going forward, they are expected to play a more positive role, as the country endeavors to build a strong and efficient financial industry so as to empower its high-quality growth and modernization drive.

The annual work conference of the National Financial Regulatory Administration, which was held on Jan 30, called for the financial system to stay committed to a path of financial development with Chinese characteristics and boost the high-quality development of the financial sector.

The meeting stressed that the financial sector should provide precise and efficient services, and coordinate the development of technology finance, green finance, inclusive finance, pension finance and digital finance.

The financial sector can better serve the development of new quality productive forces and the construction of a modern industrial system by focusing on supporting effective demand expansion, enhancing inclusive financial services, and improving the quality and efficiency of consumer protection, according to the meeting.

Optimized credit structure

Data from the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, showed that outstanding renminbi-denominated loans reached 237.6 trillion yuan ($33 trillion) at the end of 2023, up 10.6 percent year-on-year. New loans in 2023 totaled 22.75 trillion yuan, 1.31 trillion yuan more than in the previous year.

Moreover, the credit structure continues to be optimized. As of the end of 2023, outstanding inclusive loans for small and micro enterprises increased 23.5 percent year-on-year, and the corresponding growth figures for "little giant" enterprises and technology-based small and medium-sized enterprises were 18.6 percent and 21.9 percent, respectively.

Outstanding medium- and long-term loans for the manufacturing sector increased by 31.9 percent year-on-year, and those for high-tech manufacturing increased by 34 percent.

Dong Ximiao, chief researcher at Merchants Union Consumer Finance, said that since last year, financial institutions have strengthened their support for the real economy, giving more financial resources to key areas and weak links such as technological innovation, infrastructure, private small and micro-sized enterprises, and green development.

"The central bank data showed that credit structure is continuously improving, and efficiency of financial resource allocation is on the rise," Dong said.

China Development Bank said it aims to better serve China's infrastructure construction by investing more financial resources and improving service quality and outcomes.

As of the end of November, CDB's outstanding loans for infrastructure projects exceeded 7.7 trillion yuan.

Liu Peiyong, chief business officer of the bank, said that CDB has promoted in-depth cooperation between high-tech and financial sectors, to facilitate the construction of major science and technology infrastructure such as the industrial internet, artificial intelligence computing centers and national key laboratories, helping develop strategic emerging industries.

CDB has also striven to support green and low-carbon development in sectors including energy, transportation, urban and rural construction, as well as environmental infrastructure construction.

With respect to the inclusive financial sector, CDB has provided special loans for farmland construction.

As of the end of November, it had issued a total of 25.8 billion yuan in such loans, which are expected to help develop 300,000 hectares of high-standard farmland. It has also contributed to the building of a "beautiful countryside" by supporting key projects, including waste management and sewage treatment, public toilets, and habitat improvement, Liu added.

Liu said this year, CDB will continue to serve the country's high-quality development. It will help accelerate the implementation of an innovation-driven development strategy, and further contribute to some key green financial projects.

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