Suzhou Digital Currency Trial Closes, Beijing Follows Up E-yuan Pilot

The digital currency trial in the city of Suzhou came to an end on Dec. 27 at midnight, Beijing local time, which lasted for two weeks starting from Dec. 11.

During the pilot program in Suzhou, 96,614 residents were awarded red envelopes with the digital currency, representing around 96.6% of locals who applied for the lottery. About 19 million digital yuan was consumed during the experiment, accounting for about 94.8% of the total issued amount.

As the trial period overlapped with Double 11, a shopping extravaganza where brands offer the biggest discounts of the year, nearly 45% of the total was spent via online shopping. And, an e-commerce giant and the first online platform to accept the digital currency, saw a transaction volume of approximately 8.5 million digital yuan.

Digital yuan payment interface (Source: 15mb)

Among all the 10,368 physical stores covering 5 districts and some core business districts to accept digital currency in Suzhou, snack chain Laiyifen, petroleum giant Sinopec, mobile service provider China Mobile, supermarket chain RT-Mart, and Tianhong Shopping Plaza were the top five companies with the most digital yuan transactions.

536 participants tried for the first time the “dual offline wallet” where internet connection is not required to pay in offline stores, replacing traditional payment by cash or card.

Since the trial in Suzhou is an upgraded version of the Shenzhen pilot, two more banks, Postal Savings Bank of China and Bank of Communications, for their first time joined the experiment. Similar to Shenzhen, the city still accepts digital currency even though the pilot program is closed.

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As of now, the e-yuan pilot program has been conducted in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an New Area, and Chengdu. However, the end of Suzhou’s test run has led to more pilot spots and scenarios.

On Dec. 29, the digital trial was initiated in Beijing, where customers at Mancat Coffee, a coffee shop located in Lize Financial Business District, can scan the digital yuan payment QR code, marking the first time for China’s capital city to embrace the application of digital currency.

Digital yuan payment QR code in Mancat Coffee (Source: Sina)

Also on Dec. 15, Li Yan, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Financial Supervision and Administration Bureau, also introduced that the authority is working to promote digital currency, and according to the approval of the State Council, pilot programs will be carried out in the Winter Olympics venues.