[SHANGHAI] China will allow overseas credit information firms to participate in a nationwide credit information monitoring system that the central bank is building, the China Daily newspaper reported on Thursday, citing a senior central bank official.
Wan Cunzhi, director-general of the People Bank of China's Credit Information System Bureau, told the newspaper the system will assess the debt payment abilities of businesses and individuals in the country.
The China Daily said US credit information servicer Dun & Bradstreet Corp had registered with the central bank in 2017 to be a part of the scheme, while the PBOC finished reviewing an application by the Chinese subsidiary of credit data company Experian PLC in September.
Experian China had applied to provide corporate credit services, which could include investigating firms' credit status, providing credit reports to clients and supporting debt collection, it cited the firm's deputy general manager of credit services, Li Wei, as saying.
The newspaper, citing a source familiar with the situation, added that an Italian credit information service company was also preparing to register.
China's existing, centralised credit scoring system, the Credit Reference Center, only covers about 300 million people out of around 800 million potential borrowers. That creates a blind spot of some half a billion borrowers. By contrast, almost all adults in the United States have a credit score.
In February, the central bank approved the establishment of the country's first private credit reference firm, Baihang Credit Scoring, whose shareholders include the National Internet Finance Association of China, Tencent and others.