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Loans to SMEs See Strong Growth

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Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) granted 62.2 billion yuan (US$9.09 billion) in new loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in January, accounting for 53.1 percent of its total new loans for the month, the country's largest commercial lender said in a statement on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Bank of China (BOC) also reported strong growth in loans to SMEs by making 39.6 billion yuan available to them in January, up 6.9 percent from the previous year.

A large number of SMEs in China have gone bankrupt due to declining demand from the overseas market resulting from the global economic crisis.

The central government has unveiled a series of new policies to support those troubled SMEs, including tax reductions, increased export subsidies and encouraging lending by financial institutions.

(China Daily February 18, 2009)