Chinese banks pilot digital yuan at Shanghai department stores

The Bank of Communications and China Construction Bank conducted digital yuan trials at two major department stores in Shanghai.

Shanghai’s New World City and New World Daimaru Department Store, and food caterer Taikang Food Store handled thousands of digital yuan transactions over the past weekend, Shanghai Daily reports.

As part of the trial, the retailers featured digital yuan payments as part of a sales campaign in conjunction with International Women’s Day. Brand director of Shanghai New World Li Wei said that the firm reached out to commercial banks to offer discounts as part of the campaign.

“We have worked to upgrade the digital payment module ahead of the trial program, and we believe it offered extra stimulus for shoppers on top of the existing sales campaign,” Li said.

Major Chinese banks including the Bank of Communications and China Construction Bank participated in the trial by providing retailers with virtual coupons to reward customers paying with the digital yuan. Specifically, the Bank of Communications gave 100 yuan ($15) coupons to 6,500 local shoppers, while China Construction Bank offered 150 yuan ($23) coupons to 2,000 individuals when they made purchases of over 380 yuan ($58).

Participants were reportedly required to visit pre-selected local branches of the bank in order to apply for the trial and add a digital yuan application on their smartphones. 

As Shanghai continues to accelerate its digital yuan pilots, the city will likely feature the new payment option at all merchants on Nanjing Pedestrian Road Mall during the upcoming shopping season in early May, the report states.

China initially launched CBDC trials in four regions — Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an and Chengdu — in April 2020, and subsequently extended the pilot to Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Qingdao, Dalian and Xi’an as part of the 2021 agenda.

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