China Launches Larger Digital Renminbi Trial

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Digital renminbi is displayed on a smartphone screen on Saturday afternoon in Suzhou, China.

SUZHOU, China — China has started a new feasibility test of digital renminbi, enlisting 100,000 people in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, and neighboring cities. While central banks in Japan and other major countries continue to consider issuing digital currencies, China is accumulating technical knowledge.

The feasibility test started at 8 p.m. Friday and will run until Dec. 27. The 100,000 people selected by lottery were given 20 million yuan (¥320 million) worth of digital renminbi. It is twice the size of a test carried out in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, in October.

A male company employee, 45, who bought a suit Saturday at a shopping mall in Suzhou with digital renminbi on his smartphone said: “I can pay just by tapping my smartphone lightly. It is better than Alipay [smartphone payments].”

He described the new payment method as using the near-field communication (NFC) technology on smartphones. Even in the event of a disaster or when underground, customers can pay in digital yuan by tapping their phones on special terminals placed in stores.

In the test, the service has also been used for online shopping and delivery services.

On a special page in the app of online retailer, digital renminbi has been added to the payment selection screen. Users of digital renminbi can shop simply by tapping the screen.