Use of the digital yuan has grown 18x in the past 12 months in China as the central bank-issued token continues to find new users.
According to the central People’s Bank of Chinatransaction volumes hit the $13 billion mark at the end of last year, with a total of 261 million personal wallets now open in the pilot areas.
JRJ media reported that JD.comChina’s response to Amazonalso reported that customers used CNY digital wallets to pay for around $60 million for goods and services on the platform during the recent “618” festival.
In China, 618 (June 18) is akin to the United States’ Black Friday or Cyber Monday – a two- or three-week period when e-commerce platforms offer discounted products, resulting in often feverish purchases.
Reuters reported that total sales on JD.com rose just 10.3% ahead of this year’s 618, a figure that represents a “sharp” decline from “the 27.7% growth of the 2021 event”.
The 10.3% figure is the lowest growth rate ever recorded by JD and, according to Reuters, shows “how consumer appetite in the world’s second-largest economy has been hit by lockdowns to halt the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. and slowing economic conditions”.
Either way, the digital yuan spending figures represented a silver lining for JD, who has become one of the token’s most active and outspoken private sector advocates.
JD began allowing customers in the pilot areas to use their tokens on its platform in December 2019. Since then, it has distributed millions of dollars in e-CNY to customers in the 23 cities that are currently in the pilot area.
Ahead of this year’s 618 event, the platform and its partner banks offered some $1.5 million worth of e-CNY tokens to citizens in the pilot zone.
Meanwhile, the token is breaking new ground in the financial industry. Sina said the token has been successfully used to pay housing deposits in Guangdong.
And, Huangzhou.com reported that a state-run “big four” lender, the China Construction Bankadded pilot features to its mobile app that allow customers to use digital yuan to pay for wealth management products.
The same outlet also noted that a Chinese man made history by using digital yuan funds to pay for his vehicle insurance.
He added that a branch of the Agricultural Bank of China had also this month provided a loan worth US$224,000 – paid in digital yuan – to a local concrete production company that has been hit hard by the pandemic.
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