China's micro-credit firms shrank in number and in outstanding loans in the first quarter of this year, central bank data showed Wednesday.
There were 8,471 micro-credit firms in China by the end of March, down by 80 firms compared with the end of last year, according to the People's Bank of China.
Outstanding loans stood at 963 billion yuan (152.4 billion U.S. dollars), down 11.1 billion yuan compared with last December.
Micro-lenders largely target small companies and low-income groups in need of capital. They have become an important channel for small- and medium-sized firms as well individuals to access funds.
The central bank data showed that east China's Jiangsu Province had 632 small-credit firms by the end of March, the most of any provincial-level region, followed by northeast China's Liaoning and Jilin provinces.