China’s trials of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) have spread to an increasing number of pilot sites around the country.
The digital renminbi is currently being trialled at more than 6,700 sites around China according to a report from state-owned media, covering sectors including food and beverage, transportation, retail purchases and government services.
According to the report the digital renminbi has already been used for transactions worth in excess of 1.1 billion yuan (approx. USD$166 million).
The Chinese central bank’s Digital Currency Research Institute has also executed strategic cooperative agreements with leading tech platforms including Didi Chuxing and JDD, in order to facilitate its use for online transactions, while Huawei has announced that its Mate 40 smartphone will be capable of functioning as a “digital renminbi hardware wallet.”
The Chinese central bank first announced in April 2020 that it had commenced trials of the CBDC in four cities around China including Shenzhen, Suzhou Xiong’an and Chengdu, following a five year research and development period that kicked off in 2014.
On the weekend of 10 – 11 October the Shenzhen municipal government held a 10 million yuan lottery that awarded 200 yuan in digital renminbi to 50,000 prize winners, for use at 3,389 selected retailers within the Luohu District.
Authorities have yet to provide a firm date for official release, despite announcing in September that the “conditions are ready for deployment.”