China recently ran the second mass trial of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) in Suzhou following an earlier give away in Shenzhen. Over the holiday period, there were anecdotal signs of digital yuan activity in Beijing and Shanghai, neither of which are participants in the original trial regions, which are Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan New District, Chengdu and the future Winter Olympics.
In a single Beijing district, the eCNY or digital yuan was advertised for use at the Manmao coffee shop. A local reporter for the 21st Century Business Herald was told that only some bank staff could use the currency because the digital yuan is at the internal testing stage. The coffee shop supported scanning a payment code, touch payment and also offline payment. The store used a Point of Sale (POS) machine that was upgraded to support the digital renminbi, although other retailers also use a digital renminbi app.
Meanwhile, in Shanghai, Cailian News reported that an un-named state bank was trialing the account opening experience for a digital renminbi wallet. However, it was not possible to use it as yet. According to the news, state-owned banks are promoting the digital renminbi to local businesses, particularly targeting those retailers with POS machines.
The second mass trial in Suzhou finished on December 27th covering 100,000 people, up from 50,000 in the first Shenzhen trial. In other news, China’s central bank former leader claims the digital yuan is not a CBDC because it is the commercial bank’s liability.