The rapid growth of bank loans after the early 1980s, coupled with lax credit standards, resulted in non-performing loans that accounted for 30-40 per cent of loan books by the late 1990s. To prevent a repeat of that episode, the central bank is now playing tough. It is to be hoped that the rules of the game will change over time.
China needs higher interest rates to cool its property bubble, reduce wasteful investments and minimise the extent to which ordinary savers subsidise business. The government remains reluctant to undertake a full liberalisation of the credit market. But even before it does, market forces are driving interest rates higher.
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Joe Zhang is the Chairman of Slow Bull Capital based in Hong Kong, and also author of “Inside China’s Shadow Banking: The Next Subprime Crisis” and 避開股市的地雷。Zhang was Chairman of Wansui Micro Credit Company in Guangzhou, China, from 2011 to 2012, . He was named “Microcredit Person of the Year” in January 2012 by the Microcredit Association of China.
He started Slow Bull Capital in 2012. Before starting his own business, Zhang worked at investment banks. He was Deputy Head of China Investment Banking at UBS between 2008-11. From 1999 to 2006, Joe was co-head and head of China Research at UBS Securities Asia Limited. Prior to this, Mr. Zhang worked at the People’s Bank of China between 1986 and 1989. Zhang was chief operating officer of Shenzhen Investment (604 HK), a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, between 2006-08.