JAN 27, 2024
China advances digital yuan adoption in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong
Chinese authorities are unveiling new strategies to expedite the integration of the digital yuan in selected districts in Beijing and Shanghai, with a separate initiative furthering cross-border use of the e-CNY with Hong Kong.
Pudong New Area
According to the Xinhua news agency, the Chinese authorities have introduced an extensive reform initiative for Shanghai’s Pudong New Area, which is scheduled to span from 2023 to 2027. This five-year plan, issued by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, aims to position the Pudong District as a leader in modernization.
The reform plan places a strong emphasis on the pilot implementation of the digital yuan across various sectors in Pudong. As part of the plan, Pudong will be granted new authorities to evolve into an international hub.
Key aspects of the reform include the integration of digital yuan into trade settlement, e-commerce payments, carbon trading and green power trading. This move is expected to standardize and broaden the application scenarios of the digital currency.
Beijing’s ‘Digital Yuan Adoption Demonstration Zone’
Simultaneously, a member of the Beijing Municipal Committee and Hong Kong Professionals Association president, Fung Kwok-yau, has advocated for the swift progress of Beijing’s “Digital Yuan Adoption Demonstration Zone.” In a recent interview, Fung suggested expanding the digital yuan’s application by installing e-CNY terminals in local stores at popular tourist destinations, malls and shopping districts.
Fung acknowledges challenges in promoting the digital yuan, including late entry into the contactless payment market, high user acceptance barriers and difficulties in sustaining subsidies. To overcome these challenges, Fung recommends that culture and tourism departments take the lead in popularizing the concept of central bank digital currency (CBDC) and educating the public on digital yuan usage.
To encourage small and medium-sized merchants already using digital yuan terminals, Fung proposes providing incentives to help consumers understand and use the currency. He emphasizes the need for a regular promotion mechanism and measures such as electronic consumption coupons to boost citywide adoption.
PBoC cross-border e-CNY pilot
In a related development, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) plans to expand its cross-border digital yuan pilot in Hong Kong. Deputy Governor Xuan Changneng expressed the intention to deepen the cross-border e-CNY pilot to enhance convenience for businesses in both Hong Kong and mainland China.
According to a social media post from Chinese news outlet Caixin, the PBoC will collaborate closely with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) to introduce new policy measures, including financial services and cooperation initiatives to drive CBDC adoption.
Areas of cooperation between PBoC and HKMA include providing support for institutions participating in the pilot, increasing convenience for digital yuan users, expanding the number of Hong Kong-based banks handling e-CNY and exploring new digital yuan-powered cross-border remittance services for micro-payments.
The goal is to develop digital yuan services that align more closely with the habits of Hong Kong residents and promote interoperability with Hong Kong payment systems. The PBoC aims to make further progress in key scenarios such as cross-border e-commerce and education.