Today, Shanghai announced the launch of the latest central bank digital currency (CBDC) trial. Combined with previous pilots, the trial extends China’s digital yuan pilot programs to over two million people nationwide. It’s not just the numbers that are expanding but also the variety of tests, including trying it out at a facility for seniors.
Shanghai’s ‘Happy Shopping’ event will involve the distribution of 350,000 “red envelopes” – a reference to China’s traditional way of gifting cash – with a value of 55 yuan ($9). Individuals can register for the event between June 5 to June 6, China Financial News reports. The money can be spent from June 11 to 20, although the list of pilot merchants has yet to be announced.
|Pilot location||Date||People||Incentive Amount|
|Shenzhen – Luohu district||October 2020||50,000||RMB 10m|
|Suzhou – Xiangcheng District||December 2020||100,000||RMB 20m|
|Shenzhen – Futian district||December 2020||100,000||RMB 20m|
|Shenzen – Longhua district||January 2021||100,000||RMB 20m|
|Suzhou City||February 2021||150,000||RMB 30m|
|Beijing – Dongcheng district||February 2021||50,000||RMB 10m|
|Chengdu||March 2021||200,000||RMB 40m|
|Shenzhen – Luohu district||April 2021||500,000||RMB 10m|
|Changsha||May 2021||300,000||RMB 40m|
|Beijing||June 2021||200,000||RMB 40m|
|Shanghai||June 2021||350,000||RMB 19.25m|
This pilot program follows China’s testing of digital currency giveaways around the country. On May 31, Changsha handed out 300,000 “red packets” to the lucky winners amongst 1.3 million lottery participants.
Trial at a senior care facility
Elsewhere in Chengdu, Chinese banks have turned their focus toward the usage of digital renminbi in senior care communities. The adoption of digital currency amongst elderly individuals possesses a myriad of benefits, namely in its zero transaction fees, convenient payment and its offline usage.
On June 2, Taikang Home – Shuyuan conducted its first digital RMB experiment with a resident named Uncle Cheng, who used the digital currency to pay for his meal at the restaurant. “The digital RMB pilot work in Shuyuan is very meaningful. I didn’t understand the digital RMB before, and now I feel it is convenient and safe”, said Uncle Cheng.
In terms of the payment mechanism, it appears that the elderly community members were using standard mobile digital currency wallets. However, the digital yuan has been tested in various other forms, including smart debit cards, watches and other hardware wallets.
Additional pilot cities yet to launch trials include Hainan, Xi’an, Qingdao, and Dalian.