Digital yuan payment scenarios at Beijing Winter Olympics enter ‘final stretch’
Published: Nov 19, 2021 08:43 PM
CIIE exhibitors gear up for the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics Photo:Li Hao/GT

CIIE exhibitors gear up for the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics Photo:Li Hao/GT

The construction of pilot scenarios for using digital yuan during the Beijing Winter Olympics has been moving forward smoothly and entering "the final stretch," the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said on Friday.

Analysts said the use of digital currency at the Winter Olympics marks the first time that the test was conducted with international users, paving way for further improving the technology infrastructure and a large-scale national rollout that could be launched in the next few years. 

All construction of payment scenarios within the industrial park of the Winter Olympic Organizing Committee has been completed, according to the central bank. Within the "closed loop," the construction of the payment venue and environment supporting the digital currency is proceeding, with digital yuan payments already covering seven scenarios outside the "loop" including transportation, catering, accommodations, shopping and tourism.

The Beijing Olympic Games has adopted a model of closed-loop management amid the ongoing epidemic. 

The venue at Zhangjiakou in neighboring Hebei Province, which is co-hosting the Olympics, has achieved full coverage of digital yuan payment support within the closed loop. Among the stadiums that have been built, digital yuan payments have covered all five payment scenarios, while 14 payment scenarios in unfinished stadiums have signed contracts to support digital currency payments. 

According to the central bank, the focus of the digital yuan trial is within the closed loop to make it more convenient for domestic and foreign consumers to pay. Consumers are free to choose whether they prefer the digital yuan wallet app installed on their smartphones or a physical digital wallet in the form of a card. 

At the closed loop, users are able to acquire and open digital yuan wallets at various spots, including the branches of the Bank of China, the official partner of the Beijing Olympics, designated hotels and self-help exchange machines of physical digital wallets.

In addition to the digital yuan, consumers could also pay using other methods including cash and bank cards, the central bank said. 

China has launched pilot tests of digital yuan at a number of cities since 2019. Currently, a total of 1.55 million merchants support digital yuan wallets, covering public utilities, catering services and transportation. And as of October 22, China's digital yuan transactions have reached 62 billion yuan ($9.7 billion).