China’s leading messaging app, WeChat to accept digital yuan settlements

WeChat Pay, the leading messaging platform in China, will start accepting digital yuan payments. This is expected to push the adoption of the e-CNY, given that the messaging app has over one billion users.

WeChat to support digital yuan

A report from CNBC noted that WeChat Pay will start supporting payments using the digital yuan. WeChat Pay is a multi-purpose messaging and mobile payments application. By launching this service, the number of people using the digital yuan is expected to increase significantly.

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WeChat Pay is not the only payments platform looking towards increasing the use cases for the digital yuan. AliPay, the main competitor of WeChat in China, is also looking towards promoting settlements in the digital yuan. In 2021, AliPay, which is a subsidiary of Alibaba’s Ant Group, launched research into the adoption of the China CBDC.

AliPay and WeChat Pay have dominated the Chinese market, such that it is impossible to change consumer mindsets of shifting towards other forms of payments. Linghao Bao, an analyst at Consultancy Trivium China, noted that Chinese consumers cannot shift to a new mobile payments platform.

Bao noted, “so it makes sense for the central bank to team up with WeChat Pay and Alipay as opposed to doing it on its own.”

Earlier on, China had noted that foreign tourists coming for the Beijing Winter Olympics could use the digital yuan during the sports event.

China pushing for CBDC adoption

The People’s Bank of China has been making plans to push for the adoption of its CBDC. The efforts have intensified during the past few months, and in November 2021, the PBoC stated that the number of people that had created digital yuan wallets was around 140 million.

The PBoC also recently released a pilot version of the e-CNY application. This mobile wallet will be used with the digital yuan. The pilot app has been rolled out on iOS and Android devices across China. Local users of the digital yuan can now download the application and run pilot tests on its operation and the circulation of the CBDC.

The pilot trials were first made available in Shanghai, and they later expanded to other cities. The PBoC further noted that the pilot version of the digital yuan would only be accessible to accredited users since it was still in the pilot phase. The users will be selected through institutions that offer e-CNY services.

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