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FINANCE

Inclusive Finance’s Bumpy Journey in China

Farmers in China’s southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region have used bank loans to establish a professional cooperative of farmers to raise rabbits. Photo: Visual China
Farmers in China’s southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region have used bank loans to establish a professional cooperative of farmers to raise rabbits. Photo: Visual China

China has pushed financial institutions to better serve those without access to basic banking services, such as savings and loans. But analysts say it is a formidable challenge—and one in which the market, not the government, should play the leading role.

Since 2005, Beijing has stressed the need to develop inclusive finance, an initiative backed by the United Nations that calls for universal access at a reasonable cost to financial services including savings, payments, credit and insurance provided by sound institutions. In 2015, the central government designated expanding such services to those known as the “underbanked” as a national strategy, fitting in with its goal of boosting the growth of agricultural and small businesses.

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