SWIPE your bracelet, watch or even a walking stick, and you can pay for your goods with digital yuan.
These are some of the gadgets that the central bank, lenders and technology giants are showcasing to Beijing residents ahead of a broader rollout of the e-currency when the city hosts the Winter Olympics in February. The wearable devices, embedded with a digital yuan chip, can be tapped against a scanner, transferring the currency from an e-wallet without needing an internet connection.
The People’s Bank of China has rolled out pilot programs in 11 cities and regions from Shenzhen to Hainan so far and has recruited major banks and technology firms to help make the switch to the e-yuan.
Beijing consumers got their first taste of what a digital yuan future might look like during a services trade fair in the capital city earlier this month, which attracted 36,000 visitors. Major banks like Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp. as well as tech firms like Alibaba’s Ant Group Ltd. had booths promoting the e-currency.
Hao Xiujie, a 45-year-old resident of the city, queued for 20 minutes at a booth run by Bank of China Ltd. to sign up for an e-yuan account and get a cup of cappuccino for one cent of the digital currency.
“I’ve always wanted to try the digital yuan and experience how different it is from Alipay and WeChat Pay, after seeing it so much on TV,” she said, as she waited in line for her cup of coffee. “It’s really easy to use, whether it’s paying or topping up.”
E-commerce giant JD.com Inc also showcased vending machines and self-service payment machines at its booth at the services fair. Food delivery firm Meituan launched a promotion in nine cities last week that gave out free digital yuan to users who register for shared bike rides.
At the Beijing trade fair, a staff member at Postal Savings Bank of China Co. demonstrated an ATM-like machine that can take foreign currency notes and convert them into digital yuan stored in a card. China Construction Bank also had a similar machine that allows foreigners to apply for an e-CNY account with their passports and overseas mobile phone numbers.(SD-Agencies)