Major Chinese technology and trade companies have begun to openly declare their commitment to developing the digital yuan.
Ant Group and Tencent Holdings revealed the extent of their partnership with the People’s Bank of China to develop the digital yuan at the China Digital Summit, the annual trade fair in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, southeast China.
According to the South China Morning Post, Ant Group began working with PBoC on the digital yuan in 2017, many years before China officially unveiled cryptocurrency pilot projects in 2020. It is reported that in June 2019, the China Cryptocurrency Institute used Ant mobile. Application development platform to create its own digital yuan application.
Ant Group said it officially started testing the Chinese digital yuan in July 2020, and launched a test for digital currency in Shanghai at the end of that year. The company also indicated that Ant-backed digital bank MYBank has become one of the financial institutions offering Chinese CBDC currencies.
Tencent said it launched CBDC exams again in February 2018 and had formed a team of digital yuan experts by the end of that year. A company spokesperson said, “Tencent has been involved in the e-CNY project of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) from the start and will continue pilot tests as per PBOC’s guidelines.”
Other companies, such as smartphone giant Huawei Technologies and e-commerce platform JD.com, have also been involved in the development of the digital yuan. Last year, Huawei became the first smartphone with a hardware wallet for Chinese digital currency. JD.com started the partnership with PBoC in September 2020 and provided technology and service support for pilot coin projects. By the end of 2020, the company was reported to have become the first online platform to accept the digital yuan.