The People Bank of China has been coordinating testing of its Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) system for much of 2020 and the project was rolled out to major metropolitan areas to expedite trials in August 2020.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry expanded testing of the ‘Digital Yuan’ to some of the biggest metropolitan areas of the country which included Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Yangtze River Delta, Guangdong as well as Hong Kong and Macau.
Shenzhen is one of the largest cities in the Guandong province and borders Hong Kong.
According to a report from local publication the South China Morning Post, nearly two million people signed up to take part in the trial of the DCEP. Only 50,000 digital ‘red packets’ were up for grabs, which contained 200 Yuan (the equivalent of around $40). These were delivered to successful applicants that had been invited to sign up for the program.
It is reported that 1,913,847 people had signed up for what was described as a ‘lottery-style’ giveaway of the ‘red packets’. With only 50000 recipients, just two percent of Shenzhen residents that applied for the trial were successful.
Week long trial
A total of 10 million Yuan was handed out to the 50000 successful applicants that could then be used to purchase various items at 3,389 selected stores in Luohu district. Recipients will have until 18 October to use their
According to the report this is the first instance that the wider general public will take part in the wider trial of the DCEP. Previous tests only involved select institutions which included commercial banks and various retail businesses and service providers, with mobile payment giants WeChat Pay and AliPay and ride-sharing Uber-equivalent Didi Chuxing among them.
However the Shenzhen government had also gifted nearly 5000 employees of medical and health care services during the peak of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
The participants in the trial received SMS’s directing them to download the necessary app to make use of the DCEP.
The Chinese government has also indicated that it wants to have the DCEP ready for use when it stages the 2022 WInter Olympics to be held in Beijing.