This paper is about small and medium enterprises in Beijing. Its purpose is to utilise a sample of 384 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who applied for external finance in the Beijing area of China to investigate the characteristics of firms against the amount of external finance sought, the amount received, and the proportion of external finance which was received from the sought finance. The authors used a survey of SMEs in Beijing, China, administered between July and December 2007. Overall, the authors found that there is little evidence in the sample of Chinese SMEs that innovative firms face discrimination from providers of credit. However, where innovation is measured by inputs, providers of credit appear less comfortable. Three other factors were more important but statistically significant at the 5 per cent level. For example, exporters were less likely to receive a greater proportion of their sought finance; and manufacturing firms were more likely than service sector firms, and limited liability companies were more likely than extended sole proprietorship firms to obtain a greater proportion of the external finance which they sought.