Meituan Dianping to Take Part in Trials of China’s Central Bank Digital Currency

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Beijing-based food delivery and consumer sales giant Meituan-Dianping has joined the exclusive cohort of companies participating in trials of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), or digital currency electronic payments (DC/EP) system.

Sina reported on 15 July that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) plans to include Meituan-Dianping’s online platform in tests of its digital currency, marking a “step forward for comprehensive use of the digital renminbi.”

Meituan currently has around 435 million active users, who engage in daily transactions worth several billion US dollars, providing huge opportunities for DC/EP testing.

According to sources Meituan will work with PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute on the use of CBDC for electronic payments, with the cooperative details yet to be finalised.

Sources also said that PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute is currently in discussions with streaming platform Bili Bili for CBDC testing.

PBOC announced 8 July that its Dig­i­tal Cur­rency Re­search In­sti­tute ex­e­cuted a strate­gic co­op­er­a­tive agree­ment with DiDi Chux­ing.

China first com­menced re­search into the de­vel­op­ment of a CBDC in 2014, with PBOC of­fi­cials al­lud­ing to the “im­mi­nent” re­lease of a statu­tory dig­i­tal cur­rency at a press con­fer­ence in Au­gust 2019. 

PBOC announced at the end of April 2020 that it had commenced internal testing of DC/EP at lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Shen­zhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an New Dis­trict and Chengdu, as well as at sites for the Win­ter Olympics. 

Trials at Xiong’an will include the participation of a number leading overseas franchises, including McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks.

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