China’s plans for a central bank digital currency have taken further steps forward, with the roll out of fresh real-world trials, according to reports.
Dubbed the “digital yuan,” China’s central bank digital currency is already at an advanced stage of development, with several trial phases already completed in cities across the country. Now, authorities in China are preparing for a wider deployment of the digital yuan in a series of new pilot programs.
According to reports in the South China Morning Post, two more trials have been scheduled to be held before the start of the Lunar New Year, with Beijing and Suzhou set to take part in the latest pilots.
Digital red packets are to be distributed in Beijing containing 200 yuan, approximately equivalent to $31. The scheme will see 10 million digital yuan in total distributed across the city, which can be spent by the recipients both online and offline until February 17.
The packets are allocated in a lottery system, with participating merchants accepting the digital currency including clothing and shoes retailers, cinemas and hotels.
A similar scheme will roll out in Suzhou, but on a much larger scale, with 30 million digital yuan being distributed in total. A wider range of merchants are also signed up to the program in Suzhou, which will run until February 27. According to media reports, some 10,000 merchants are expected to accept digital yuan payments through the trial.
The Suzhou trial is the second to take place in the city, after an initial pilot of 20 million yuan proved to be successful. The further stage trials, if successful, will see the total transacted through digital yuan to date reach 1 billion.
China’s digital yuan program is amongst the most developed central bank digital currencies in the world. A much wider rollout is expected in the coming months.