The Chinese Commerce Ministry is expanding the testing program of its digital yuan by taking the trials to more regions, including the city of Beijing and other affluent provinces.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal today, the newly selected regions for the trial include Tianjin and Hebei province in the north; the Yangtze River Delta to the south; and the country’s wealthy southern coast, Guangdong province.
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The ministry did not set any specific deadline for the completion of the pilot, but the policy framework for the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The Chinese central bank initiated the development of digital yuan, officially called the digital currency electronic payment (DCEP), in 2014. This was far ahead of other global monetary regulators, many of which are still assessing the feasibility for a digital currency development.
After the completion of the development, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) first started the pilot last month by partially paying the state employees’ salaries in four provinces – Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu, and Xiong’an.
The recent extension of the digital yuan trial also followed the PBoC’s decision to circulate the digital yuan in Hong Kong’s Greater Bay Area consisting of nine cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau.
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Apart from the geographical expansion for the digital currency trial, the central bank is partnering with several companies and institutions to build proper infrastructure and put it into real-world use.
Finance Magnates earlier reported on the central bank’s partnership with DiDi Chuxing, a major ride-hailing giant, and Meituan Dianping, a Tencent-backed food delivery startup.
Furthermore, the monetary regulator on-boarded retail giants like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway to ramp up the trial of the digital currency.
Though the PBoC governor earlier denied any timeline for launching digital yuan, a local media house reported that the central bank is rushing the project, given the uncertainties of sanctions as well as a sour relationship with the United States.