Outstanding loans to small businesses continued to grow by the end of 2016 as the central government stepped up efforts to provide more financial support to small and micro businesses.
Outstanding loans by Chinese financial institutions to small and micro businesses stood at 20.84 trillion yuan (3.02 trillion U.S. dollars) by the end of December, up 16 percent year on year, according to the central bank.
With authorities encouraging loans to small and micro businesses to help shore up the economy, the growth rate of such loans exceeded the growth rate of loans to big- and mid-sized enterprises by 7.2 and 9.1 percentage points, respectively, said the People's Bank of China (PBOC).
Outstanding loans to small and micro businesses accounted for 32.1 percent of the total outstanding loans to enterprises at the end of December, up 1.6 percentage points year on year, according to the PBOC.
Chinese authorities have encouraged banks to support the development of small businesses, which have difficulty accessing bank loans.
The banking regulator has implemented differential regulatory policies to improve the coverage of loans for small businesses and reduce their financing costs.