Alipay, the mobile payment platform owned by Ant Group, is set to allow some of its users to participate in the emerging digital yuan commerce ecosystem.
According to a report by China Securities Journal on Monday, this new feature is a result of MYbank’s participation in the country’s expanded digital currency electronic payment testing protocols.
The news further cements Ant Group’s participation in China’s central bank digital currency project. Indeed, the conglomerate owns a majority stake in MYbank — one of the largest internet-only banks in the country.
In a statement quoted by CNBC, Ant Group confirmed its involvement in the digital yuan trials, adding:
“As one of the participants in the trial of the e-CNY, Ant Group’s associate MYbank will steadily advance the trial pursuant to the overall arrangement of the People’s Bank of China. Ant Group, together with MYbank, will also continue to support the research, development and trial of PBOC’s e-CNY.”
Ant Group has been collaborating with the PBoC on digital currencies since 2017. China’s central bank is reportedly using the firm’s mobile app development environment to create digital yuan-linked apps.
While MYbank is moving toward allowing users to interact with the digital currency, Tencent-backed digital bank WeBank is reportedly yet to activate any bridge for customers to the digital yuan. Both online banks were announced as the first private financial institutions to join the digital yuan testing ecosystem back in February.
However, the testing arena is dominated by six state banks, some of whom have created user wallets for the digital yuan.
The PBoC continues to promote the digital yuan’s utilization via a litany of airdrops and lotteries in several cities. These adoption events often target shopping festivals, with merchants encouraged to accept the currency as a payment means.
Back in April, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com announced that it was already using the digital yuan to pay staff salaries. The online retail firm was the first to begin accepting the digital currency as a payment method and reportedly received about 20,000 DCEP-funded orders in the first week.