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Banks Flock to Chinese Digital Yuan Pilot – 60 Now Offer CBDC Wallets

Nine additional banks have recently joined China’s digital yuan pilot program, contributing to a total of 60 banks that now offer Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) wallets. The latest participants include three major city-based banks and six rural banks.

City-based banks that joined the pilot this month:

1. Zhejiang Tailong Commercial Bank
2. Bank of Rizhao
3. Ningbo Commerce Bank

In addition to the city-based banks, the following rural banks have also joined China’s digital yuan pilot program this month:

1. Jiangyin Rural Commercial Bank
2. Wuxi Rural Commercial Bank
3. Kunshan Rural Commercial Bank
4. Taicang Rural Commercial Bank
5. Shunde Rural Commercial Bank
6. Jiangnan Rural Commercial Bank

The digital yuan pilot program originally began with the participation of four major banks: the Bank of China, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, and the Agricultural Bank of China, in collaboration with the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC). The inclusion of additional banks, both city-based and rural, highlights the continued expansion and testing of China’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has designated a total of nine Chinese megabanks as “designated operators” for its digital yuan initiative. Additionally, eight joint-stock banks, 20 city-based commercial banks, and 14 rural commercial banks are participating in the pilot program. Furthermore, five rural credit providers and four foreign banks, including financial giants HSBC and Standard Chartered, have joined the initiative.

These banks offer various digital yuan-related services, including personal and corporate wallets. Notably, major e-payment platforms like Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay are also participating in the pilot, showcasing widespread industry collaboration in support of China’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Chinese Banks Eye ‘Next Phase’ of Digital Yuan Pilot

According to Chinese fintech expert Su Xiaorui, the “next phase of the digital yuan pilot” is expected to involve the inclusion of “people and enterprises in more regions” using the digital currency. The current pilot zone covers the capital, Beijing, as well as major tech hubs and cities across China. However, substantial portions of the country have not yet participated in the use of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has not committed to a specific nationwide rollout date.

Su Xiaorui asserted that in 2024, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and its partners are expected to intensify their utilization of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) “in government operations and cross-border scenarios.” Cross-border expansion of CBDC usage commenced in Hong Kong earlier this year and has since extended to Singapore and Taiwan.

Furthermore, Su predicted that Chinese banks would aim to achieve more progress in digital yuan-related “retail and corporate” applications in the coming year. This suggests an ongoing and expanding role for the digital yuan in various sectors and use cases.

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