In January, on-demand service provider Meituan allowed more than 200 types of offline merchants, including restaurants, grocery stores and hotels, to accept e-CNY payments. E-commerce giant JD.com had earlier made e-CNY payments an option for purchases made on its platform.
That support has helped the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) adopt sovereign digital currency ahead of other major central banks such as the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan. China became the first major economy to explore its own central bank digital currency in 2014, but the government has yet to provide its own timetable for a nationwide launch.
According to the latest PBOC data, there were 261 million e-CNY users at the end of 2021, almost double the number recorded last October. The digital yuan is available for use in approximately 20 mainland cities designated for the e-CNY trials.
Trials are already taking place in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xiong’an, Hainan, Changsha, Xian, Qingdao and Dalian. Other cities such as Shenzhen and Suzhou have been associated with e-CNY promotion since the end of 2019.
Authorities in cities designated for e-CNY trials have supported the widespread adoption of the digital yuan by developing new infrastructure.
An industrial estate in a suburb of Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province, has partnered with Bank of China, one of e-CNY’s major banking partners, to facilitate the use of the digital yuan to pay for employee salaries, parking fees and meals. has provided. Within the site, according to a report in the local newspaper Hangzhou Daily on Friday.
Other recent e-CNY use cases include paying toll fees on all expressways in southeast Fujian province and paying for car repair changes in Chongqing in southwest China.
However, China’s sovereign digital currency roll-out has cast doubt on Beijing’s intentions. Robert Greene, a former senior adviser to the US Treasury Department, published an article last July saying that one possible function of e-CNY was to avoid US financial sanctions.