China's consumer finance firms saw their total assets surpass 100 billion yuan (14 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of September with small-sum and convenient loans increasingly popular .
The regulator piloted consumer finance with four firms in 2010. A total of 16 new consumer finance companies opened in the first nine months of this year, with total outstanding loans of about 97 billion yuan, according to the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) on Thursday.
The 16 firms have offered loans of over 208 billion yuan, serving over 24 million customers with average amounts of 8,600 yuan.
The consumer finance market is growing fast with Internet companies like JD.com and Alibaba lending small sums for online shopping and other payments.
"Consumer finance can meet the demand from middle and low income consumers, " said Mao Wanyuan, a senior official with the CBRC.
The CBRC will approve new consumer finance firms as long as they are qualified. Three are ready with another eight in the pipeline, Mao said.