Chinese Tech Firms Didi, Meituan, & Bilibili Launch Lottery-Based Trials for Digital Yuan
Tests for China’s digital yuan are still ongoing as companies continue to join the People’s Bank in its efforts to digitize the currency.
This week, local news source CLS confirmed that three large internet companies had joined the tests in what appears to be a lottery-style trial.
As the news explained, Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-hailing service in the country, had joined commercial products and bike-sharing company Meituan and video-sharing site Bilibili on a lottery-based trial of the digital yuan. The test will focus on Suzhou, a region on the western side of Shanghai.
The report explained that the trial launched earlier today, and it will involve about 10,000 residents in the city. These residents will vie for about 200 digital yuan units each, which they can spend at merchant stores with point-of-sale technology.
In addition to retail spending, the winners can spend the tokens on the three companies’ services. They can order rides on Didi, pay for bike-sharing on Meituan, and spend on new features from Bilibili’s site. It is unclear how long the trial will last, but it continues what appears to be a series of rests and implementations for the digital yuan.
All Hands on Deck
The companies are just a shortlist in a line of corporations looking to test the digital yuan. The Peoples’ Bank has incorporated several other companies for the better part of the year, with names including Alipay and WeChat Pay, the country’s two largest payment processors.
In October, Huawei, the country’s largest smartphone manufacturer, announced on its Weibo channel that its next flagship device – the Mate40 series – will come with a hardware wallet for the digital yuan. Touting it as a channel to be a part of China’s digital revolution, Huawei explained that the wallet would provide optimal privacy and anonymity.
The wallets will also feature dual transactions, ensuring that users can complete transactions by touching two compatible phones, even without any internet connection.
The tests have also gone beyond just tech companies. Economic Information Daily reported in October that gas stations in Shenzhen had begun accepting the asset. As the news medium confirmed, 11 gas stations had been integrated into the program, and more would join.
The program was the brainchild of Guangdong Petroleum, a state-owned oil, and gas firm. Participating outlets come fitted with barcode readers to ensure easy and quick payments. Guangdong praised the asset’s speed and security, explaining that reviews of its use had been positive. It is expected that these trials have ended already.
A similar giveaway to what is happening in Suzhou also occurred in the Luohu District of Shenzhen. Per a Sina Finance report, the district’s government started a program to send ten million units of the asset (worth about $1.5 million) to 50,000 residents via a lottery.
Unlike this program, however, that one focused primarily on retailers and brick-and-mortar shops across the region.