China Launches Digital Renminbi Trials in 11 Cities, Stages Seven Digital Renminbi Lotteries in Year Following Start of Testing


Pilot schemes for use of the Digital Renminbi have spread to at least ten cities around China a year following the commencement of testing of the central bank digital currency (CBDC),

The Chinese government launched testing of the Digital Renminbi in April 2020, at an initial cohort of five areas including Beijing’s Winter Olympic sites, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Suzhou and the Xiong’an New District.

Another six cities were subsequently added in a second group that included Changsha, Dalian, Hainan, Qingdao, Shanghai and Xi’an.

Four of these cities, including Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Suzhou, have collectively staged seven “red packet” lotteries for the issuance of the Digital Renminbi to local residents for consumption purposes.

Shenzhen has held three Digital Renminbi lotteries, Suzhou two, and Beijing and Chengdu one each, collectively issuing 150 million yuan in digital currency via 750,000 digital “red packets” (the term for China’s traditional gift-giving envelope.)

Sites for Digital Renminbi trials have included supermarkets, retail stores and transit facilities, as well as e-commerce and shared economy platforms such as DiDi Chuxing, and Meituan.

Chinese banks have played a key role in testing of the Digital Renminbi, with all of the country’s big six state-owned lenders launching their own digital wallets for use with the CBDC.

Digital Renminbi Wallet Trials as of April 2021

BankCooperating partiesArea of application
All six big state-owned banksDiDi Chuxing, Ride hailing
ICBCMeituanVehicle hire
All six big state-owned, JD FinanceIndependent vendors
All six big state-owned banksBilibiliRecharges of “B tokens”
All big six state-owned banksSinopecPetroleum financing and fee payments
All big six state-owned banksStar ChargeElectric vehicle recharge stations
All big six state-owned banksSF ExpressPayment for express delivery services via app
All big six state-owned banksTuniu (途牛)Payment for travel agency services
Bank of CommunicationsTuhu (途虎)Payment for vehicle maintenance services

Online Digital Renminbi Trials as of April 2021

BankCooperating partiesArea of application
Bank of China, Xiong’an District branchXiong’an customs departmentPayment of risk deposits
ICBC, Shenzhen branchShenzhen municipality’s Guan’ai Charity FundCharitable donations made via the ICBC “Rong eGou” app
China Construction BankZhongan InsuranceInsurance purchases via app
ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction BankVankePayment of property management fees via app
China Construction Bank, ICBCShanghai Metro SystemRecharges of metro cards
ICBCChina MobileUse of SIM card wallets to pay for account transfers or fees in Suzhou
Bank of ChinaChina Unicom5G SIM card wallets in Suzhou
Bank of China, Bank of CommunicationsChina Pacific insuranceInsurance products in Shanghai
Postal Savings Bank of ChinaDalian Deloitte, CyntekB2B online platform settlement applications in Dalian
Bank of China, Suzhou branchNanjing Normal UniversityPayment of fees on campus
China Construction Bank, Shenzhen branchShenzhen TongQR code scanning for transit usage
Bank of Communications, Dalian branchLiaoning Port GroupPort settlement operations
ICBCGuowang Yingda Changsanjiao Finanical Centre(国网英大长三角金融中心)Enterprise bidding insurance in Shanghai
/Wujiang district financial regulatorsSupply chain enterprise operations in Suzhou, Guzhen tourism sector

Offline Digital Renminbi Trials as of April 2021

BankCooperating PartiesArea of application
China Construction Bank, Shenzhen branchSinopecPetrol stations in Shenzhen
China Construction BankGomeGome stores in Shenzhen and Xi’an
ICBCManmao Cafe in Beijing’s Fengtai DistrictConsumer purchases at Manmao cafe.
Bank of CommunicationsTuhu (途虎)Payment for vehicle maintenance services in Chengdu
Bank of ChinaBeijing metro systemMetro fares paid using wearable smart gloves at turnstiles
Postal Savings bank of ChinaTongen Hospital in ShanghaiUse of visual smart card to pay for meals at the hospital canteen
Agricultural Bank of China, Shenzhen branch/Cash withdrawals in Shenzhen
ICBC, Shenzhen branchHeli Smart Vending Machines (盒哩智能售货柜)Payment for vending machine purchases in Shenzhen
ICBCHunan Heshun PetroleumUse of visual smart card to pay for fuel at petrol stations in Changsha
Agricultural Bank of China, Xiong’an District branch/Visual smart card wallet
Bank of ChinaChangsha municipal governmentSanxiang Nanhu Market
Bank of China State GridPhysical wallet used to make payments for recharges of electric cars
/SuningOffline purchases at Suning’s retail stores in Shanghai
/Rural credit societiesPurchases of fertiliser in Suzhou
Bank of ChinaBank of China Hong KongUse of Digital Renminbi by Hong Kong residents for purchases made in Shenzhen
China Construction BankRenmin UniversityPurchase of goods from campus souvenir store
Bank of China Changshu Public Transit System, Hangzhou GOLONG TechnologyUse of Digital Renminbi to pay for public transit in Suzhou’s Changshu county
/Tongren Hospital in ShanghaiPayment for medical treatment