Third batch of pilot cities for digital yuan to be unveiled
Published: Mar 02, 2022 07:53 PM
Residents who received red packets of digital yuan use the money in stores in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Residents who received "red packets" of digital yuan use the money in stores in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. Photo: Li Hao/GT

China's third batch of pilot regions for trials of the digital yuan will be unveiled soon, with Fuzhou, Xiamen and Hangzhou cities expected to be selected, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Wednesday, after the digital currency gained momentum at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

According to the report, since the beginning of the year, a number of Chinese cities from provinces including Central China's Henan, East China's Fujian and Northeast China's Heilongjiang have made it clear that they are actively pursuing digital yuan pilots. 

Among them, Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong earlier expressed hopes of participating in the third batch of pilot cities, while Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality proposed to explore international application scenarios of the digital currency.

In addition to cities, emerging regions are also applying to use the digital currency, including the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone in Fujian.

The report said that Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian as well as Hangzhou in Zhejiang are expected to be in the third batch of digital yuan pilot cities.

"Cities that enjoy booming digital economies with advanced digital technology may be chosen as pilot areas, where people are accustomed to using electronic payments, which will facilitate the expansion of the digital currency," Wang Peng, assistant professor at the Gaoling School of Artificial Intelligence at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Since its debut in late 2019, the digital yuan has been accessible in 11 cities including Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai. As of the end of last year, digital yuan pilot scenarios had exceeded 8 million, with a total of 261 million personal wallets being launched and a total transaction value of 87.56 billion yuan ($11.2 billion).

Industry analysts noted that through the previous pilots, digital yuan wallets have been recognized by the market with technical and scenario advantages, and now it is time for further expansion of the pilot.

"Especially during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the digital yuan showed more attractiveness as it was available for international users for the first time, further expanding its user base and application scenarios," Wang said.

As the West excluded Russia from the SWIFT interbank system amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Wang noted that the move may speed up the Chinese digital currency's internationalization thanks to its various application scenarios and safety. 

Global Times