Spectacular Rise And Thundering Fall Of China’s Wild-West Peer-To-Peer Lending Industry

China’s peer-to-peer lending industry, once a world-beater, is on its last legs. Entrepreneurs had hoped to fill a gap in the Chinese financial system ignored by state-backed banks. Thousands of peer lenders flourished, gathering funds from small investors and extending credit to family restaurants, parents with tuition bills to pay and other small borrowers. Several larger players such as Yirendai Ltd., PPDAI Group Inc. and Qudian Inc. went public in the U.S.