The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced on April 2 that the cities of Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Xiamen, as well as six separate cities hosting the Asian Games in Zhejiang Province, will be added as new pilot areas for the country’s digital currency, or e-CNY.
Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province will also be turned into pilot areas after completing a test period during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics.
At present, pilot cities for the e-CNY cover most regions across the country. It is worth mentioning that Meituan, a Chinese food delivery giant, took the lead in providing consumption subsidies for these new pilot cities. Tencent’s social app WeChat also announced on Wednesday that it now supports e-CNY in all pilot regions. Users can finish payments with the e-CNY APP or their WeChat accounts but only after signing up for a WeBank e-CNY wallet with their real name.
The digital yuan is already being tested in 10 major cities, including Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Suzhou. It was also tested at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. By the end of 2021, the e-CNY had been tested in more than 8,085,100 pilot scenarios, and 261 million personal e-CNY wallets had been opened, with a transaction amount of 87.565 billion yuan ($13.75 trillion).
This year, the e-CNY App (pilot version) was officially launched, achieving over 20 million downloads, further promoting the trade of digital RMB on digital platforms. At present, a number of online and offline application modes that can be replicated and promoted were formed in the fields of wholesale and retail, catering, and cultural tourism.
With the pilot project covering more areas in the future, e-CNY will place more emphasis on improving users’ daily life. According to industry insiders, at this stage, the integration of e-CNY and the internet will become more significant, while digital platforms with rich consumption scenarios will play a more important role in boosting the popularization of the digital yuan.
From the perspective of investment scale, Essence Securities’ report showed that development of the e-CNY field is expected to attract over 100 billion yuan ($15.7 billion) of investment. The institution suggested investors for paying attention to companies in fields like financial equipment, bank IT, payment, and encryption algorithms.