China is readying a fresh digital yuan adoption push ahead of next month’s Asian Games, with the nation ready to show off its CBDC to a large international audience for the first time.
Citizens in the pilot zones will be able to buy tickets for the event using the central bank’s official CBDC app – a first for a major sporting event in China.
The games will be held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, from September 23 to October 8.
Beijing has earmarked the event, the first large-scale international sporting event to be held in the nation since COVID-19 pandemic containment measures were lifted, as a key moment for its coin.
Per Cebnet, state-run commercial banks and e-commerce platforms will likely play a leading role in showcasing the token to international visitors.
The media outlet quoted a spokesperson from the e-commerce giant Meituan as stating that the use of the digital yuan in “large-scale international sports events” would help to showcase the development of the Chinese digital economy and inclusive finance “to the outside world.”
The tourism sector, banks and retailers commented, will provide a “very good opportunity” for the further adoption of the CBDC.
They think the fresh challenges of the tourism industry could help the “further improve the functionality” of the token.
Banks and retailers promoted the coin at the recently-concluded Chengdu World University Games.
It is likely they viewed the event as something of a dry-run for Hangzhou.
Banks issued manuals and instruction guides for using digital yuan hard wallets in Chinese, English, French, and Spanish at the Chengdu games.
Merchants in the athletes’ village also upgraded their POS machines to accept CBDC payments.
Asia Games: Chinese CBDC in the Spotlight?
The central People’s Bank of China’s official CBDC app, per an official Baidu post, will be updated to allow visitors to the games to “buy tickets and pay for transport.”
Visitors will also be able to use the app to check on event information and access “other services.”
According to Eastnet, via the China Daily, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) this week held a special event at one of the new high-speed railway link hubs built for the games.
Rail networks in and around Hangzhou have already been updated to accept CBDC payments, as have metro networks in host cities.
The bank said it had released commemorative “Asian Games-themed digital yuan hardware wallets.”
These wallets could, theoretically, be used by non-Chinese nationals, or Chinese spectators from outside the pilot zone.
Indeed, Hong Kong visitors to the mainland have been encouraged to make use of the digital yuan to pay public transport fees.
Similar efforts will likely be made during the games next month.
The Hangzhou Asian Games Main Operations Center at work during a pre-games drill. (Source: 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022)
And per the Zhejiang Daily, the ICBC has also been active with its digital yuan promotion activities in Wenzhou, a nearby city that will host Asian Games events such as dragon boat racing.
The ICBC’s branch in the city said that it had been working on new usage “scenarios” for the digital fiat in the city and had “upgraded and transformed bank outlets in the region.”
Earlier this week, the bank announced that it would co-launch a CBDC-powered supply chain financing solution.