Two local department stores and one food caterer became the first local retailers in Shanghai to accept digital yuan payments recently. As local outlets report, China is accelerating its rollout as it readies the digital currency for use during the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.
The three were New World Daimaru Department Store, Taikang Food Store and Shanghai’s New World City. As per SHINE News, the three processed several thousand digital yuan transactions over the weekend. The three worked in partnership with two of China’s top banks—the China Construction Bank and the Bank of Communications.
Li Wei, the brand director at Shanghai’s New World City revealed that the store targeted the International Women’s Day when the shopping activity is significantly higher. In addition, the store reached out to commercial banks to offer the shoppers discounts for using the digital yuan.
“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,” Wei stated.
According to the outlet, the Bank of Communications issued 100 yuan ($15.4) in virtual coupons to 6,500 shoppers in Shanghai worth of the digital yuan. The China Construction Bank, the world’s second-largest bank, also participated in the giveaway in Shanghai. SHINE News claims the bank issued 150 yuan ($23) worth of digital yuan to 2,000 people who made purchases of more than $59.
The two banks have made their digital yuan apps very easy to use, taking a play from the popular existing payment apps like WeChat Pay and AliPay. Users simply show a barcode from the app which the cashiers scan for seamless payments.
Shanghai wasn’t among the first cities to trial the central bank-backed digital currency. However, as Wei pointed out, it’s now the premier destination for accelerated trials. He told 8btc, “In Suzhou and Shenzhen in China, circulation of digital currency has been on a trial basis. In Shanghai, preparation for the launch of digital currency is in full swing. 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.”
China’s central bank is reportedly targeting a full launch of its CBDC in time for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. Song Lu, a researcher at Renmin University believes that the Olympics would be the perfect event to launch the digital yuan as it would give the currency global strength, recognition and status.