Digital Yuan Test Back in Beijing as City Marks 1-Year to Winter Olympics
As part of activities marking the first anniversary of the countdown to the opening of the Winter Olympics in 2022, the city of Beijing has announced it plans to issue 50,000 digital red envelopes with an amount of 200 yuan (or about $30) each thus running to about 10 million yuan (about $1.5 million) in all.
The move is to implement the scientific and technological action plan for the global sporting event and strengthen the construction of its payment service environment, the Beijing Municipality notes in its announcement over the weekend.
Though no official date has been confirmed for the digital yuan’s public rollout, it has mostly been rumoured that it is planned to be launched during the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
The latest pilot activity, which will mark the third round of major tests of the digital currency under development by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), is part of the pilot applications of the digital yuan that the city “will steadily promote” around the Olympics to improve its smart city service level “and build an international consumption center city,” the Municipality notes.
The pre-order channel for interested Beijing residents to register for the lottery, which is wrapped around the “Digital Wangfujing Ice and Snow Shopping Festival”, was opened from 00:00 am on Feb. 7 to 23:59:59 by Monday Feb. 8 according to e-commerce platform, JD.
Individuals in Beijing (based on the GPS location) can log into the “Glamorous Wangfujing” (魅力王府井) mini program to check the details, and apply for registration on the JD or Jingxi app.
Lucky winners can redeem their envelopes between February 10 (the 29th lunar month) and February 17 (the sixth day of the first lunar month) offline with designated merchants in the Wangfujing Festival’s activity area of Jingdong Mall and online with platforms like JD which is also partnering with the Suzhou Municipal Government on the second DCEP test programme in Suzhou between Feb. 5 and 26.
Suzhou’s government issued red envelopes worth 20 million yuan to residents during the first test. This time, the city is reportedly planning to give away 150,000 red packets worth about 30 million yuan.
According to the head of the DCEP program at JD Technology, Fei Peng, their payment and settlement service platform can provide nonstop 24/7 transaction services to “solve the problem of massive data reconciliation, enabling 50 million transaction reconciliations to be completed in 15 minutes.”
The two cities’ Chinese New Year lotteries worth 40 million yuan (or about US$6 million) are bigger than their previous ones. In Suzhou, 20 million yuan were distributed in the first pilot held in December while the trial in Beijing was held at the subway station in Beijing Daxing International Airport was on a very small-scale digital yuan trial.
According to Chinese media calculations, the separate trials that have been held across major cities in China now total around $17 million.
The testing of the digital yuan under the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) project is only open to residents with a Chinese ID number, or residence permits from Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan.
After a series of major tests within China, the DCEP recently entered a joint venture with the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments, SWIFT which a report says is an indication that China is exploring the global use of the planned digital yuan.