China’s Digital Yuan Trial Sees Spending For Retail, Ridesharing And More

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The second trial of digital yuan by the People’s Bank of China has concluded, resulting in hundreds of thousands spent on eCommerce retail, food delivery and ride-sharing, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

The trial began earlier in the month as authorities handed out 20 million digital yuan, or $3.1 million, to local residents of Suzhou from a lottery. There were 100,000 winners who got the chance to spend 200 digital yuan on various online or offline services.

The Suzhou pilot, WSJ writes, was of a bigger scope than the October one conducted in Shenzhen. In Suzhou, there were twice as many residents and three times as many businesses involved. The trial involved partnerships with JD.com, Meituan and Didi, along with numerous independent shops.

In addition, the Suzhou trial also saw a new electronic payment feature implemented to let people pay for things without an internet connection. There was a difference between that program and a normal electronic payment from the country’s increasingly cashless methods.

That payment method will work when the customer briefly taps their device against the vendor’s, WSJ writes. The feature will bolster companies that have long battled bad internet connections in their physical stores.

The new trial was used by one resident to pay for an abundance of laundry detergent, which she told WSJ would be enough to sustain her family for a whole year. The 200 digital yuan was able to pay for everything aside from a five yuan payment she had to add on top to encompass the whole load, WSJ writes.

In November, PYMNTS wrote that the year’s earlier trials of the digital yuan, spread across four cities, had over 2 billion yuan used in 4 million transactions. People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said FinTechs could do better in some ways than traditional institutions through the ways they could bridge gaps in financial inclusion.

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