The Chinese central government has flagged the expansion of the trials of its statutory digital currency to several of China’s biggest urban conurbations.
On 14 August China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced that the Jing-Jin-Ji region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Greater Bay Area and China’s Midwest all satisfied conditions for serving as trial areas for the central bank digital currency (CBDC).
MOFCOM made the announcement in the “MOFCOM Notice Concerning the General Plan to Comprehensively Deepen Service and Trade Innovative Development Trials” (商务部关于印发全面深化服务贸易创新发展试点总体方案的通知).
According to the Notice the CBDC trials which have already commenced in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou, the Xiong’an New District and the future Winter Olympics sites will soon be expanded to other regions based on “consideration of conditions.”
The “comprehensive deepening trial zones” highlighted by the Notice include Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hainan, Dalian, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Changchun, Harbin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Jinan, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Guiyang, Kunming, Xi’an, Urumqi, Suzhou, Weihai, the Xiong’an New District, the Gui’an New District and the Xixian New District.
China first commenced research into the development of a CBDC in 2014, with People’s Bank of China (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 the DC/EP at locations including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an New District and Chengdu, as well as at sites for the Winter Olympics.
All four of China’s original big state-owned bank are reported to be conducting internal trials of CBDC wallets, while businesses involved in the ongoing CBDC trials include Meituan-Dianping, Starbucks, Subway and McDonald’s.