THE International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector financing arm, announced yesterday it would invest up to US$30 million in Chinese private finance company Orient Finance Company (OFC). 'This is IFC's first financing to a Chinese enterprise that is sponsored and fully owned by indigenous private entrepreneurs,' the IFC said. 'OFC is also the first Chinese non-state financial institution to raise offshore financing by relying entirely on its own credit standing without any explicit or implicit government guarantee.' IFC's financing consists of a long-term loan of up to $10 million for the Orient group and a second loan of $20 million to be re-lent to private companies. The loans will help the OFC expand its operations and extend long-term loans to local non-state enterprises in and around the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. IFC will also organise and arrange technical assistance to strengthen OFC's institution building, including internal controls, credit operations, project appraisal and review procedures. 'The establishment of non state-owned financial intermediaries, such as OFC, marks an important turning point for the financial sector in China, which has been exclusively in the public domain,' IFC vice-president Jemal-ud-din Kassum said. 'It reflects the importance attached by the Chinese authorities to promoting a modern and competitive banking system that supports an increasingly free market and an emerging non-state sector.'