The company said work on some of its real-estate projects was suspended after it delayed payment to suppliers and contractors. Some unpaid contractors and would-be homeowners have protested at Evergrandes offices.

Chinas top financial regulator, the Financial Stability and Development Committee, earlier this month told provincial governments to set up working groups to monitor social and economic instability around Evergrande, some of the people said. The Evergrande situation comes ahead of a closely watched leadership meeting next year.

Policy makers are also considering gradually easing some property curbs in smaller Chinese cities, such as making ownership of a second home easier, according to one of the people