Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pawn shops, once banned, now US$11.83 billion dollar player in China's shadow banking system

China’s SMEs head for pawnbrokers as credit tightens
In such an environment SMEs often turn to family financing, underground banks and loan sharks to fund their operations. They are forced to pay eye-watering interest rates well into double-digits. By contrast, the average rate at a retail pawnshop is usually much lower. Step inside the retail unit of an upscale pawnbroker like Shanghai Hualian Pawn or Beijing’s Huaxia Pawnshop today and you’ll see the usual assortment of watches and jewellery that were common 20 years ago. But peer into an office behind the counter and you might well overhear negotiations for a loan in exchange for the keys to a luxury car or apartment deed. The average loan at a Chinese pawnbroker is about US$16,000 (RMB 100,000) versus US$150 in the US.

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