Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is partnering with the country's central bank to explore using digital currency on its smart transport platform.
Didi joined a list of companies and banks to test the digital yuan being developed by the People's Bank of China in real-life scenarios. The new digital money is known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment.
Chinese food delivery service Meituan Dianping, video sharing website Bilibili and ByteDance, parent of the popular short-video platform TikTok, are also participating or discussing possible partnerships, sources told Caixin.
In April, the central bank confirmed that some state-owned banks are conducting internal trials of the digital currency in four cities and considering its usage during the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Screenshots of a purported pilot version of a wallet app for the digital currency, tested internally by state-owned Agricultural Bank of China, suggest that people can use the app to make payments using a QR code and send or receive funds by touching another phone.
A person at the Agricultural Bank told Caixin that Didi's financial department was in contact with the bank last year about conducting pilot programs in Xiong'an New Area -- one of the four cities where the central bank is conducting DCEP trials.
The PBOC has been studying the development of a state digital currency since 2014. After China's State Council included blockchain technology in its 13th Five Year Plan in 2016, the central bank established a research institute for the development of DCEP.
The central bank said in April that it has no timetable for the issuance of the digital yuan but a series of partnerships has been announced, indicating that research and testing are progressing.
In April, Hong Kong-based artificial intelligence company SenseTime signed an agreement with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the PBOC to broaden AI applications in the financial industry.
During a financial forum in Shanghai last month, Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said his country is looking to exchange knowledge and expertise with China on digital currencies, and that the two countries are exploring the possibility of Chinese tourists using DCEP abroad.
Read also the original story.
Caixinglobal.com is the English-language online news portal of Chinese financial and business news media group Caixin. Nikkei recently agreed with the company to exchange articles in English.