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PBoC’s Digital Research Institute Partners With Ant Group to Promote the Construction of The Digital Yuan Technology Platform

According to the latest report from the 21st Century Business Herald, the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Ant Group. The news was first announced during the Digital China Construction Summit, where the two sides said they will jointly work on promoting the platform for the digital yuan. The platform, according to reports, will be based on Ant Group’s proprietary distributed database called OceanBase and mobile development platform mPaaS.

The two said will rely on their respective technical advantages to carry out in-depth exchanges and cooperation in the field of digital yuan and jointly promote the implementation of new technologies. OceanBase has reportedly won first place in the world twice in database benchmark performance tests (TPC-C). Ant Group’s technology underlying OceanBase can achieve strong data consistency and high efficiency under high traffic and realize multi-site live applications and city-level disaster recovery. mPaaS is derived from Alipay’s mobile development platform, which can provide a cloud-to-end one-step solution for the day-to-day operations of the upcoming digital yuan.

While the partnership is a huge step both for the PBoC and Ant Group, this isn’t the first time Ant Group has been involved in digital yuan projects. Back in2017, the People’s Bank of China began gathering commercial institutions that could aid in its digital yuan development systems, with Ant Group being among them. The company actively participated in a digital yuan research and development pilot project.

According to the latest agreement between Ant Group and the PBoC, Ant Group will also participate in the internal closed digital yuan pilot tests in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu, and the future Winter Olympics scenario.

Reports from the 21st Century Business Herald also revealed that Ant Group was trying to establish Netshang Bank as the go-to digital yuan operator. The bank has been involved with digital yuan research and development since 2017 and is now piloting several different scenarios, including utilizing the digital yuan in BoxMart, RT-Mart, T-Mall Supermarket, Haro Bicycle, and Shanghai Bus.

During the summit, Tencent, the company behind the messaging giant WeChat, also revealed that it has been involved in digital yuan pilots since 2018. Tencent is the designated operator for Netshang Bank and, as such, is set to become an even more integral part of the upcoming digital RMB. A source within Tencent told reporters that the company will carry out controlled pilots under the guidance of the People’s Bank of China in the coming months. And while the source didn’t specify which pilot projects Tencent will be tasked with, the overall digital yuan effort has added six new pilot regions since the beginning of 2021—Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, and Dalian. Together with the previous four pilot regions—Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu, and the Winter Olympic Games, the pilot has formed a so-called “10+1” pattern, the report said.

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