China Expands Digital RMB Pilot Scheme to 15 Provinces and Cities

Zou Lan, Director General of the Monetary Policy Department of the People’s Bank of China, said on July 13 that the digital RMB pilot scheme has now been extended to 23 areas in 15 provinces and cities across the country.

In addition, the digital RMB’s whitelist restrictions, which give priority access to certain users, have been lifted in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan New Area and Chengdu.

The digital RMB project also now includes Industrial Bank as a new designated operator. Prior to this, there were nine digital RMB operators, including six major state-owned banks, MYBank, WeBank and China Merchants Bank.

“In the first half of this year, the People’s Bank of China, together with the participating research institutions and with the strong support of the governments of pilot areas, solidly and steadily promoted the pilot test of digital RMB, successfully completed the pilot scenarios of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and made digital RMB to wonderfully debut as a technology business card in Beijing Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics,” Zou said at a press conference held on July 13.

As of May 31, pilot areas in 15 provinces and cities have accumulated about 264 million transactions through digital RMB, with an amount of about 83 billion yuan ($12.34 billion), and the number of merchant stores supporting digital RMB payment has reached 4.567 million.

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Since the beginning of this year, digital RMB have been applied in many financial fields, such as wealth management, loans and insurance. Zou said that in the next step, the People’s Bank of China will steadily and orderly expand the pilot scope, strengthen scenario construction and application innovation, carry out research on major issues, and continue to deepen international exchanges and cooperation.