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China to issue guidelines on internet finance

China will soon release guidelines on "the healthy development of internet finance", covering loans, investments and other financial services offered online rather than through banks and financial institutions, a central bank official told China.org.cn.14 Jul 2015

The guidelines have been reviewed and approved by China's cabinet, the State Council and will be released soon, Zhang Tao, a director with the People's Bank of China told the website.

The aim of the guidelines is to encourage innovation in internet finance and ward off potential risks, ensure competition and protect the rights of investors, China.org.cn said.

"Internet finance is growing very fast and in general we think it has diversified offerings in the financial sector and can help address financial needs of small and micro firms and those in the countryside," Zhang said.

China is the world's largest peer-to-peer lending market. By the end of September 2014, about 1,400 peer-to-peer lending platforms had raised funding of 110 billion yuan (US$18 billion), China Daily said in May.

The growth of internet finance has led to growth in recruitment of IT professionals into the sector, Shanghai Daily said in September 2014, citing a report from online recruiter highpin.com. Recruitment nearly doubled in the first six months of 2014 from the same period the year before, it said.

In May China's central bank announced that it will change its rules to allow customers to open accounts online, without having to go into a branch.