Chinese banks issue digital yuan wallets to Shanghai customers

Digital yuan wallet in use on smartphone in Shanghai
CBDC PILOT: Shanghai shoppers can now use digital yuan wallets in selected city stores Image: Shine

Some 8,500 consumers in the Chinese city of Shanghai have been given e-wallets containing digital yuan as part of the country’s ongoing pilot scheme for its central bank digital currency (CBDC).

China’s Bank of Communications distributed wallets containing 100 digital yuan (US$15) to 6,500 of its customers, while China Construction Bank gave 2,000 customers 150 digital yuan (US$23) for use with purchases of more than 380 yuan (US$58), according to Shanghai Daily’s digital news service Shine.

Recipients are currently able to spend the digital currency at two Shanghai department stores, New World City and New World Diamaru, as well as at the Taikang Food Store, but “digital currency payment capabilities will likely be available to all merchants on Nanjing Pedestrian Road Mall” by early May, the service says.

According to the Shine report, all three stores “handled several thousand virtual yuan transactions” during the first weekend of the trial.

Shine also quotes a Bank of Construction employee, who suggests that the bank is preparing to extend the trial programme to “more people in the future”.

A video posted in the Shine report shows consumers using the digital currency in Shanghai

To date, Shanghai has hosted small-scale trials of the CBDC, including a digital currency hard wallet, with larger-scale pilots taking place in Suzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Beijing.

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