The Chinese central bank is set on a mass scale to increase the scope of its digital yuan pilots – as the country borders are closer to a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) issuance.
Wall Street Journal stated that the nation’s Ministry of Commerce said that the trial – so far active in five cities since May – will soon “cover much of China’s most prosperous regions,” as well as several less-affluent areas.
The trial phase, which includes the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and four major state-owned commercial banks, will be expanded to encompass all of Beijing, the satellite provinces of Tianjin and Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta, the southern coast and the so-called Pearl River Delta: the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Unverified reports prior this week stated that the latter – a vital point for industrial and commercial growth for Beijing – was preparing for digital yuan pilots.
The state ministry went a step further, requiring, per WSJ, that “cities in the country’s poorer central and western regions that meet certain requirements will also roll out trials of the digital currency.”
The ministry indicated that the pilot was still being run by the PBoC and did not specify when the digital yuan pilot extension program would begin. Nevertheless, it added that “policy design” was on target for completion “by the end of 2020.”
The Ministry of Commerce further mentioned that Beijing’s digital yuan push was part of a plan to “move China into higher-value industries and upgrade the country’s economy.”
Significant news outlets in China – as well as various overseas observers – say that some of the country’s biggest tech firms, including Alibaba and Tencent, are operating behind the scenes on CBDC-related pilots and plans side by side the PBoC