Microfinance has always been a subject discussed in the context of India, Africa, or Southeast Asia, but few talk about it in the context of China. On the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific on the Rise’s blog, an article written by James I Davison discusses how a “Facebook” for farmers in China has brought microloans to the rurals in China. The website they discuss is Wokai.org (a non-profit site), which is known as the “Facebook” for farmers, but is really more like the microfinance websites like Kiva .This site is solely directed at lending money to impoverished farmers in China who want to use their entrepreneurial skills but don’t have the means.
The post states,
“The money has gone to more than 160 rural Chinese entrepreneurs, who put loans to a variety of uses, such as pig farming, furniture making and starting a restaurant. The comparison to Facebook is made because individual donors and borrowers have profiles on the site, and contributors can read about (and watch the progress of) the people their loans go to. “
This is another crucial way of helping out those impoverished in China. Many forget that China is still a poor country with a large disparity of incomes between the extremely rich who can live in opulence and the impoverished who are mostly located in rural areas. Perhaps this is why China is overlooked many times when the topic of microfinance comes up. What is interesting is that microfinance in China is usually implemented under the government. The Microfinance idea was introduced in the 1990s, by the Rural Development Research Institution under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (which is under the Central Government). But in this case, Wokai is a private NGO that is helping out in the microfinance revolution.
For more information, read, the April 2009 China Daily’s post “Microfinance on way to China’s Poor”