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Coronavirus drives Chinese business owners into personal debt

Corporate loans from banks still a bridge too far for millions of SMEs

Workers wearing face masks sort and package eggs at a factory in China's Shandong Province on Feb. 18.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- As orders from Europe and the Middle East dried up due to the coronavirus, Ye Zhenqing knew he would have to take drastic measures to keep his sunglasses manufacturing business from going under. With corporate loans out of reach, Ye pledged his own apartment as collateral for a 2 million yuan personal loan to tide his company over.

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