Digital yuan gives Olympic holidays and shopping a festive charge

A Beijing resident registers for an e-CNY app on her cell phone. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Red packets containing the digital yuan, or e-CNY, have been distributed in several cities to boost consumption as China uses the Spring Festival and Beijing Winter Olympics to test and promote wider use of its digital currency.

Six major state-owned commercial banks distributed e-CNY red packets worth a total of 25 million yuan ($3.93 million) in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, covering different scenarios such as public transport and Discounted shopping at Yitian Holiday Plaza, a mall in the city’s Nanshan district.

In Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, the Suzhou Motion Picture Association has partnered with the Suzhou Branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to offer discounts to select moviegoers paying with e-CNY. Started on January 30, the promotion will last until the end of March, offering 50,000 discounted tickets.

Xiao Taige, a resident of Suzhou, said consumers are seeing an increasing number of scenarios where people can use e-CNY, which has made the virtual payment modality more convenient.

Ahead of the Spring Festival, Xinjin District in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, held a lottery giving residents a chance to win 26,900 red packets, each containing 66 yuan or 88 yuan of digital currency. The red packets are permitted for consumption at nearly 1,000 designated merchants in the district, including tourist attractions, participating restaurants and supermarkets.

Besides the holidays, the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are also a great opportunity for China to continue the e-CNY pilot programs.

Consumers are allowed to pay in e-CNY at Winter Games venues. They can use the yuan digital wallet app or hardware wallets, such as e-CNY cards and wristbands, for small-value payments at merchants, contracted hotels, and designated hospitals inside the Winter Games safety red line, as well as traders outside the red line. e-CNY logos.

Some spectators use the digital yuan to buy Bing Dwen Dwen, the mascot of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, at a franchise store selling licensed Games merchandise at the National Stadium when the Games kicked off with the opening ceremony Friday.

Bank of China Ltd, a major state-owned commercial lender and official partner of the Winter Games, has developed more than 40,000 digital yuan-accepting scenarios covering a diverse demand for services including catering, accommodation, transportation and purchasing, in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, said Liu Jin, chairman of BOC.

Large Internet companies also play an active role in promoting the use of e-CNY. Meituan, a Chinese e-commerce platform providing life services, announced on January 26 that it has further expanded the scope of e-CNY payments to more than 200 offline consumption scenarios, including catering, fresh produce retail, carpooling, hotels, tourism and entertainment.

The Beijing-based company said during its digital yuan pilot program that nearly 90% of its e-CNY red packets have been used in everyday consumption scenarios since January, with small-value transactions under 30 yuan making up the majority. greater proportion of total transactions, thus promoting the growth of overall consumption by people and the activity of small businesses offline.

E-commerce giant JD has also allowed users of its apps to pay for products purchased from its standalone stores with the digital yuan. Consumers will find a dedicated section on the JD app showing them how to use e-CNY on the platform.

As of December 31, the number of scenarios in China’s digital yuan pilot program had exceeded 8.08 million. A total of 261 million individual users opened e-CNY wallets, and the transaction value reached 87.57 billion yuan, said Zou Lan, director of the People’s Bank of China’s financial market department, at the meeting. a press conference on January 18.

“The PBOC will continue to steadily advance the pilot research and development program of e-CNY in accordance with China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), further deepen the use of digital yuan in scenarios such as retail transactions, bill payments and government services and set e-CNY R&D goals to serve the real economy and people’s lives so that businesses and individuals can realize the value of e-CNY, thus fully stimulating the enthusiasm of all parts of the industry,” Zou said.

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