BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- China's micro-credit companies extended 31.3 billion yuan (4.6 billion U.S. dollars) of new yuan-denominated loans in the first half of the year, central bank data showed Wednesday.
That was up from 8.2 billion yuan of new loans granted in the first quarter, according to statistics from the People's Bank of China (PBOC).
Micro-lenders largely target small companies and low-income groups in need of capital. In recent years, micro-lending companies have become an important channel for medium and small-sized firms as well as individuals to access funds.
Authorities have demanded more financial services for small businesses, which have difficulty in getting traditional bank loans, as part of efforts to let the financial sector better serve the real economy.
By the end of June, China had 8,643 micro-credit firms, with outstanding loans amounting to 960.8 billion yuan, according to the PBOC.
East China's Jiangsu Province had 627 micro-credit companies by the end of June, the most of any provincial-level region, followed by Liaoning and Jilin provinces.
Micro-credit firms in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality saw outstanding loans reach 121.7 billion yuan by the end of June, higher than other provincial-level regions.