China’s Payment Giant Alipay Launches Digital Yuan Applet
Alipay, a renowned payment platform in China has extended the propagation of the digital yuan through its latest implementation. It has created a “digital RMB” search function that would simplify the process of opening a digital RMB wallet for new users. This new creation also supports one-stop digital RMB payments, transfers, and bank card management functions.
What Alipay has achieved with this latest development is for new users in the digital yuan pilot areas to be able to search for “digital Renminbi” on the Alipay homepage. They can also download the digital Renminbi APP, and open the Alipay MYbank digital Renminbi wallet. Another additional functionality is the ability of users to open personal wallets by scanning the digital Renminbi collection code through Alipay.
Creations like these form the structure for the increasing adoption of the digital yuan in the mainstream. They make adoption easier and enable the public, who are the real end-users, to try their hands on the developing payment system that is powered by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).
Since the beginning of the pilot program and trials of the digital yuan, Alipay has been an effective partner of the PBoC in bringing the product closer to the people. It has done so by opening up merchant scenarios for the application of the digital yuan for both businesses and individuals.
According to reports, the number of digital yuan sub-wallets that have been pushed to merchants by Alipay is in the region of 6 million. The company has also announced that it will work with its partners to continue to expand the avenues for using the digital yuan. This it says will bring a more convenient and secure payment experience to the users.
Alipay’s latest creation is an extension in the phase of the digital yuan development that began earlier this year. In what has been described as a major leap forward for the digital yuan, a beta version of the digital yuan app was officially launched for iOS and Android on Chinese app stores. The launch made the app available to the general public, even though it existed in an exclusive mode for over a year already, under limited programs.
With the app launch, users in over 20 cities across China are now able to pay for goods and services using digital yuan. Some areas where this technology has been made available include major cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen. Users in these cities can sign-up for the apps through seven different traditional banks and two online banks, all of Chinese origin.
It is this initial launch that has opened up other various channels through which the PBoC is spreading its tentacles in its work towards the full realization of the digital yuan project. Tencent’s messaging app and payment platform, WeChat, is among the platforms that have announced plans to integrate the digital yuan into its system.
WeChat’s protocol is seen as one of the major channels that could give the digital yuan significant exposure in the mainstream. The platform boasts of over 1.2 billion users, of which over 750 million are active daily.
China remains the flagship nation in the development of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Among many countries that have planned or begun working towards creating national digital currencies, the PBoC’s project remains the most advanced and robust so far. There have been several tests and pilot programs in the past with mixed results. However, with the level of commitment and efforts observed around the project, full realization could be a matter of sooner than later for the digital yuan.