China continued to see fewer micro-credit firms last year amid tightening regulations on malpractice in the sector, official data showed Thursday.
The country had 8,551 micro-credit firms as of the end of last year, compared with 8,673 in 2016, according to the central bank.
The number of micro-credit firms dropped by 237 in 2016 compared with 2015.
However, outstanding loans grew by 50.4 billion yuan (7.88 billion U.S. dollars) to reach 979.9 billion yuan last year.
Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality boasted the largest share of outstanding micro-loans, followed by Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces.
Regulations on micro-credit service, especially online micro-credit platforms targeting ordinary consumers, tightened in 2017 after fraudulent cases and cases involving violence emerged.
Chinese regulators suspended approval of new online micro-credit firms last November and banned them from conducting cross-regional business.