In an unconfirmed report, four Chinese state-owned banks are gradually testing the ‘digital renminbi’ wallet app and Digital Currency/Electronic Payment (DCEP) system in different provinces across the country.
The reports, though unconfirmed, follow the recent comments by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) confirming the “closed pilot of the digital RMB was completed” with plans to launch research on the legal digital currency underway in this second half of the year.
It was first revealed by a local newspaper, 21st Century Business Herald, who spoke with some of the employees working on the app. As reported, the app is in extensive scale testing in Shenzen and other parts of the country with four major banks – China Construction Bank, Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China – participating.
According to the report, users will need to have to open a digital account with either of the four banks to register the app. The digital wallets are then linked to various banks allowing the users to recharge their accounts and also spend on different utilities directly – similar to Alipay and WeChat payment services.
However, the app is still not publicly available for downloads as one respondent confirmed:
“Our bank is testing the ‘digital renminbi’ app on a large scale. The app cannot be downloaded publicly for the time being, and it has an identity code after opening it.”
The app allows users to transfer amounts to others by using their phone number or a QR code, pay, save, and spend RMB digitally across several merchants across China.
China has, in the past, hastened its efforts in launching a legal digital currency since the announcement of the Libra project, championed by Facebook. The leading committee on the digital currency, Central Bank’s Digital Currency Research Institute, launched closed pilot tests in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, and Chengdu in preparation for a Winter Olympics 2022 date release.
Moreover, the CBDC is in testing on Tencent Holding’s food delivery app, Meituan Dianping, as well as the Chinese Uber, Didi Chuxing, which are processing billions of dollars annually. China’s hastened launch of its DCEP project aims to reduce the dollar-influence across the country and East Asia.