The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has announced that it will broaden its digital yuan pilot test to bigger cities in China. In an official statement on 14 August, the Ministry of Commerce revealed that the CBDC test phase would extend to regions such as China’s capital Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta and Guangdong, on top of the nearby cities of Hong Kong and Macau.
The expanded digital yuan test area will comprise a prospective user base of 29 percent of the country ‘s population, with a combined population of around 41 million in the major four cities. The Ministry also made it clear that the People’s Bank of China is spearheading the digital Yuan pilot program. However, the statement did not specify when testing will begin in the regions mentioned above. As per the statement, the policy structure of the state-issued currency should be concluded before the end of 2020.
China’s DCEP pilot program
The PBoC initiated the testing program of the digital currency early in 2020, beginning with just four Chinese cities including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu, and Xiong’an New Area. Notably, China’s largest ride-sharing company, Didi, teamed up with the PBoC to drive the adoption of the digital yuan.
Locally, the digital yuan is referred to as the digital currency electronic payment (DCEP), and it is on track to be the first-ever functional national digital currency. In April, the Chinese government experimented with the digital yuan in its transport subsidies scheme for government and enterprise workers in Suzhou, a big city in Jiangsu Province.
China will promote digital yuan during the winter Olympics
Aside from expanding the digital currency concept pilot across all of its municipalities and cities, the program is on the verge of further broadening. According to reports, the Chinese government is preparing to use the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics as a platform to promote digital yuan.
The winter Olympics commonly referred to as Beijing 2022, will be held in February 2022. In its efforts to promote the DCEP, the PBoC recently partnered with Chinese food giants Meituan Dianping to participate in the pilot program. The PBoC has reportedly teamed up with major industry players such as Alibaba, Tencent and WeChat to implement the digital yuan.