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China Central Bank Seeking Ways to Collect Online Lending Data

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An elderly man walks past the People's Bank of China in Beijing on August 12, 2015. China cut the yuan's value against the US dollar for the second consecutive day on August 12, roiling global financial markets and driving expectations the currency could be set for further falls. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)Photograph by Wang Zhao — AFP/Getty Images

China’s central bank is studying ways of collecting and distributing data on how funds raised online are being used because of the risks posed, the director of its statistics department Sheng Song said in an essay released on Saturday.

Online peer-to-peer lending platforms have expanded rapidly in China, along with an increasing number of fraud cases.

Last month, police arrested 21 executives at Zhongjin Capital Management—a high-profile Shanghai-based platform that promised retail investors double-digit returns for short-term projects—for alleged “illegal fundraising.”

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China’s government has responded with a plan to clean up the country’s online financial sector, including rules to limit the activities of P2P lending firms, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.

In February, authorities arrested 21 officials from Ezubao, once China’s biggest P2P lending platform, which collected $7.6 billion in two years from more than 900,000 investors.