China and the world’s biggest bank in terms of assets is touting the research outcomes of its participation in ongoing trials of the Chinese central bank digital currency (CBDC), better known as the Digital Renminbi.
At the 4th Digital China Summit held in Fuzhou on 25 April, ICBC debuted more than thirty Digital Renminbi applications that it has independently developed during its participation in Digital Renminbi trials over the past year-long period.
- A complete product line of Digital Renminbi hardware wallets in the forms of cards and other devices that ICBC claims make it the “industry leader.” These Digital Renminbi wallets include walking canes, wristwatches and door access cards.
- SIM card hardware wallets and Digital Renminbi 5G data applications developed via strategic cooperation with China Mobile.
- Use of API, H5 and SDK to achieve multiple forms of payment using Digital Renminbi wallets, including voice recognition payments, facial scan payments and dual offline payments;
- Exploration of innovative applications of Digital Renminbi smart contracts;
- Exclusive implementation of prepaid transit cards in collaboration with Tianfu Tong for the Sichuan province capital of Chengdu
ICBC also debuted a range of Digital Renminbi smart machines and cash exchange machines at the Digital China Summit, which provide multiple functions including wallet release, wallet recharging, hard cash exchange, transfer of Digital Renminbi between accounts, and the conversion of foreign currencies from and into the Digital Renminbi.
ICBC said that this range of smart devices catered in particular to the needs of “disadvantaged groups” in China when it came to digital finance, as well as short-term visitors to China who are travelling from abroad.
The “Digital Renminbi Paper and Hard Currency Exchange Machines” (数字人民币纸硬币兑换机) will enable the flexible conversion of the Digital Renminbi from and into hard physical currency via dual offline technology.
ICBC said one of its ongoing focuses when it came to the development of Digital Renminbi applications was services and consumption in everyday life, and strong support for public transit, daily expenditures, medical treatment and education-related applications as part of efforts to “continually increase financial inclusion.”
Official testing of China’s Digital Renminbi first commenced in April 2020 at a small cohort of Chinese cities including Chengdu, Shenzhen, Suzhou and the Xiong’an New District. It has since spread to at least ten cities around the country in total, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an.