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Almost 2 Million People Applied for Shenzhen’s Digital Yuan “Red Packets”

The digital yuan pilot project initiated by Shenzhen’s municipal government has got off to a great start. According to the latest report, a total of 1,193,800 individuals in Shenzhen have applied for the “Luohu Digital RMB Red Packet,” a rewards program initiated by the Shenzhen government. 

The program was set up as a type of lottery, where 50,000 applicants received the so-called “red packets” which consist of 200 yuan in the form of PBoC’s upcoming digital RMB. The winners were selected through a lottery shake, Caixin news outlet reported last week, adding that the lottery was created to test out the digital yuan on a larger scale. As of October 11, 2020, all of the 50,000 “red packets” were drawn and are currently in the process of being distributed to the winners. 

Shenzhen’s lottery was part of the “2020 Rewards for Luohu” series of promotional activities targeting consumers in the region. The goal of the project was to both promote consumer spending in the region and get the upcoming digital yuan closer to as many people as possible. The project was jointly launched by the Luohu District Government of Shenzhen, the Shenzhen branch of the central bank, the Shenzhen Government Service Data Administration, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China, and the Construction Bank of China. All of the banks collaborated for the first time ever to distribute 10 million yuan worth of red packets. 

The applicants were required to be located within the Shenzhen administrative region, which includes the Shenzhen-Shantou Special Cooperation Zone, and to use their mainland China mobile phone number and second-gen ID card to register for the lottery. Winners will receive an SMS with instructions on how to download and set up a personal digital wallet where they’ll receive the 200 yuan “red packet.” According to the official notice from the Shenzhen municipal government, the red packets can be used with more than 3,300 merchants in the Luohu District and are valid until October 18. Users will be able to find a complete list of merchants divided by categories on the iShenzhen platform.

And while the lucky 50,000 winners will spend the rest of the week testing out the digital yuan, the rest of China will have to wait. There is still no clear timetable as to when the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) plans on launching the currency, despite numerous sources reporting on the huge progress being made in the digital yuan’s development. Comprehensive digital RMB pilot projects across mainland China began as early as August this year, with the biggest effort being put into the country’s largest trade and tourist hubs—Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou, Xiong’an, and the upcoming Winter Olympics site. As the summer was coming to an end, local authorities in Hainan also announced that they plan on actively pursuing the application of digital yuan in cross-border trade, financing, and investments. 

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