Risks lurk in P2P sector, ratings agency warns
were not comprehensive. They have difficulties in paying their debts, in achieving profitability, and in management,” saidWang.
He said that these problems have seriously undermined the lenders’ credibility and will have an adverse impact on liquidity.
Money raised by the platforms mainly flowed into real estate and the interbank market instead of to cash-starved small and medium-sized enterprises, Wang said.
Transactions involving P2P platforms doubled to 250 billion yuan ($41 billion) in 2014, according to the Internet Society of China.
Online P2P lending uses the Internet to conduct daily transactions or finance businesses.
Given their lower transaction costs, online wealth management products allow investors an alternative to tightly controlled interest rates. But the largely unregulated market is rife with money laundering, fraud and illegal fundraising.
Dagong found that platforms with larger registered capital tend to receive better ratings.
Transaction volumes, investment policies and the number of investors also influences the risk level.
Shanghai-based lufax.com was the only leading online lender on the early warning list provided by Dagong. The site, under Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd, has more than 800 million yuan in registered capital.
Dagong did not specify why lufax.com was classified as a lender with “abnormal investment risk”.
Calls for comment to the public affairs office at Ping An went unanswered.
South China’s Guangdong province has the largest number of P2P lenders on the alert list, according to Dagong.
Regions with a vibrant private sector have more pronounced online lending problems than the less-developed places, it said.
Despite the increasing risks, the Internet-based lending market is set to expand in 2015, researchers have said.
Industry consultancy IDC said the high penetration rate of the Internet in China will allow online lending to reach more areas this year.
And with industry regulations likely to be in place before year-end, the Internet finance sector will exert increasing pressure on bricks-and-mortar lenders, IDC said.