BEIJING — The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China’s biggest commercial lender, saw its inclusive loan balance rise 50 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to help smaller businesses tide over difficulties following the outbreak of COVID-19.

More supportive measures included increasing the credit line to a maximum of 10 million yuan (about $1.4 million), according to the bank.

To reduce financing cost for small and micro-sized enterprises, the ICBC offered loans at concessional rates and deferred loan payments for these firms. More than 20,000 small businesses have extended or renewed their loans so far, the bank said.

It also ramped up efforts to innovate inclusive financial products, including specific online credit loans to strengthen contactless services, which facilitated smaller firms to restore production amid epidemic containment measures.

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