China’s central bank has launched a pilot version of its digital wallet which will house the country’s digital yuan currency in a bid to increase the usage to more people.
Currently the app is available on China’s Android and Apple app stores and allows users to open a digital yuan wallet and spend the currency.
The currency is a digital version of the sovereign currency of the country and has actually been around since 2014.
It is worth noting that while the currency is digital it is not a cryptocurrency, it is just controlled and issued by the People’s Bank of China.
China has conducted a small number of trials around the country in the form of lotteries where a number of cities have been given a small amount of digital currency to spend.
Previously only a number of select users could use the app after being invited, however now anyone can download the app.
Ecommerce giant JD.com started accepting digital yuan as payment last year, with a number of other retailers following suit.
Currently there is no timeline for the official national rollout of the digital yuan.
The state-backed “e-CNY” is thought to present a major challenge to Alibaba’s ubiquitous ‘Alipay’ and Tencent’s ‘WeChat Pay’, which currently represent around 94 per cent of online payments in China.
“People will realize that digital yuan payment is so convenient that they don’t have to rely on Alipay or WeChat Pay anymore,” a bank official involved in its Shanghai trial said.