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Park, Albert F., and Changqing Ren. 2001. "Microfinance with Chinese Characteristics." World Development, 29(1): 3-62.
Analyzing household survey data from three microfinance program sites, we provide an early systematic assessment of Chinese microfinance programs, which have grown rapidly since 1994, are based on the Grameen model, and include an unprecedented large-scale government initiative. We examine the empirical propositions that underpin successful microfinance programs—reaching the poor (targeting), financial and operational performance (sustainability), and program benefits (impact). We find that nongovernmental programs perform well in all three areas, but that governmental programs perform poorly. Given the remote location and focus on agricultural projects in China's poor areas, we advocate greater flexibility in loan contract terms, especially repayment schedules.