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Shadow Loans Hard to Squelch in China City Hit by Suicide

Zhou Xiang is playing with his mobile phone in a room just big enough for a desk and chairs at the year-old Wenzhou Private Lending Registration Center. Not a single prospective customer has shown up for hours.

As a government-sanctioned loan broker seeking to match cash-strapped business owners with private investors, Zhou is one of the few people who can even be found inside the two-story building in a high-end residential district of Wenzhou, a city of 9 million people in China’s southeastern Zhejiang province. Rows of airport-like seats are empty.