China’s digital Yuan project received another major boost at the just concluded 31st FISU World University Games, where China topped the medal tally, finishing with a total of 178 medals including 103 gold.
Daily transactions made in digital Yuan on Meituan jumped by 51% during the games which ran from 28 July to 8 August, resulting in a 65.5% increase in transaction value on the food delivery and local lifestyle services app, and also serves as one of the main entry points for digital Yuan. The momentum once again shows China’s ambition to normalise the use of the digital currency by leveraging major international sporting events.
The platform is reported to house over 2.5 million users who have been adopting the digital Yuan as of 6 March 2022, with the new currency accepted at more than 200 online and offline consumption scenarios spanning food and drink, retail, bike sharing, travel and hotel and entertainment.
In addition, as the exclusive official banking partner in the banking category for the Chengdu 2021 Summer World University Games, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) also launched a physical version of the currency in the form of a digital RMB wallet. The initiative allows the use of the digital Yuan and does not require downloading an app or scanning payment codes. Payments can be completed simply by tapping the physical wallet on a POS machine.
While it is a hard sell to the rest of the world, the digital Yuan has played a crucial role in China’s efforts in stimulating domestic demand with “red envelopes” containing the digital currency being a common practice adopted by local governments to spur consumption.
It is understood that transactions in digital Yuan hit another high of 1.8 trillion RMB (249.33 billion USD) at the end-June, according to Reuters’ report in July citing Yi Gang, China’s former central bank governor. This marked a jump from over 100 billion RMB since last August.
Meanwhile, the redemption rate (the percentage of coupons that have been successfully redeemed or verified, which is regarded as a KPI for coupons) of the said digital currency reached 90% in many places since its trial began in 2019 with certain areas hitting 99%. With further pushes from international events, the digital Yuan is expected to see wider penetration.