China’s digital currency to be tested in Xiongan; trial run involves Starbucks, McDonald’s

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/23 15:08:28

A view of the PBC's headquarters in Beijing Photo: cnsphoto

The Chinese central bank's digital currency DC/EP project will be tested in the Xiongan New Area, North China's Hebei Province, with a trial run in local catering and retail industries including US coffee chain Starbucks, fast food chain McDonald's and the Qingfeng Baozi (stuffed bun) restaurant chain, the Global Times has learned. 

According to a document seen by the Global Times, local authorities in Xiongan new area held a roadshow for the DC/EP project on Wednesday afternoon. 

Participants include the Xiongan development and reform bureau, working teams piloting DC/EP from a subsidiary of the People's Bank of China (PBC) in Hebei provincial capital city of Shijiazhuang, employees from the Xiongan branches of four major commercial banks— the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank — as well as representatives from Tencent and Alipay. 

Other participants include enterprises such as Starbucks, McDonald's, Subway Restaurant, Qinfeng Baozi, Oscar Cinema, JD unmanned supermarkets, UnionPay unmanned supermarkets, and Zhonghai SPV Group, a consortium of major state-owned construction enterprises that undertake key projects in Xiongan, according to industry media.

Industry insiders say the unveiled list shows the PBC has set up a few task forces in different Chinese cities to work with local authorities in order to facilitate the progress of the DC/EP project. 

The document also implied that four commercial banks and private Chinese tech firms could be major operators of the digital currency. 

"It is plausible that employees of Zhonghai SPV may be the first to open DC/EP wallets and spend the currency in the aforementioned companies," an industry insider told the Global Times.

The Global Times reported earlier that in addition to Xiongan, three other cities — Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province, Suzhou in East China's Jiangsu Province, and Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province —  will also test the central bank-backed digital currency. 

Some industry media reports hint DC/EP may be used for transportation subsidies in Suzhou city.

Global Times


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