The Chinese central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), appears to have given a go signal to a “hard wallet” smartphone-free pilot for its forthcoming digital yuan.
According to a Tencent news report, the pilot is being handled in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine’s Shanghai-based Tongren Hospital’s staff cafeteria, where it started running yesterday.
The report highlighted staff members’ images at the hospital paying for food using the token, using a counter-top point-of-sale device, and a card fitted with a digital display in the top right corner, showing how much money remains in the wallet.
The initial pilot test of the token has made exclusive use of online and offline mobile phone-based wallets.
The media outlet claims that the wallet was developed using technology pioneered by the Postal Savings Bank of China and reports of how a hospital staffer successfully paid for a meal using the “hard wallet,” later making a separate purchase of a cup of coffee.
The PBoC is enthusiastic about ensuring that its digital yuan, which it has all but confirmed, will be issued before next year’s Winter Olympic Games, be held in Beijing and used by non-smartphone users.
As reported from a Newzoo-compiled 2019 Global Mobile Market Report, China’s smartphone penetration is just under 60%, a portion that would place the digital yuan out of reach for many older and poorer Chinese citizens.
A third digital yuan giveaway is slated for early February to coincide with the nation’s Lunar New Year (February 12) festivities.