WeChat, China’s largest social messaging and payment app that boasts of over a billion users is all set to integrate the digital yuan payment option on its platform. In China, there is a common trend of one app offering multiple features and WeChat is definitely one of them which acts as a messaging app like Whatsapp and Telegram and can also be used as a social media along with payment app. The integration could potentially make it the unofficial launch for digital yuan.
“Chinese consumers are so locked in WeChat Pay and Alipay, it’s not realistic to convince them to switch to a new mobile payment app. So it makes sense for the central bank to team up with WeChat Pay and Alipay as opposed to doing it on its own,” said Linghao Bao, an analyst at consultancy Trivium China.
China began the development of its sovereign national digital currency in 2014 which was completed by the end of 2019. The public trials began soon after, which has evolved from being used as a traveling subsidiary by a few government employees to now being used in various sectors including retail and daily payments.
Is China eyeing the 2022 launch for e-CNY
The recent expansion of digital yuan trials which were limited to selected provinces in the country hint at a possible launch this year. The trials have been going on for over two years now, and industry insiders believe the upcoming Winter Olympics in February could be the perfect global event for the digital yuan launch.
At present more than 100 nations around the globe are working in some form to develop their own national CBDC. The likes of Russia, Japan, and South Korea are set to begin pilot projects for its CBDC trials in 2022 while the United States is yet to formalize any credible plans for a CBDC. France and Switzerland did their first cross-border trials this year and many more are expected to join the ranks soon.
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