Major Chinese technology and trading companies are starting to open up about their involvement in the development of the digital yuan.
Ant Group and Tencent Holdings revealed the extent of their partnership with the People’s Bank of China in the development of the digital yuan at the Digital China Summit, an annual trade fair in Fuzhou City in southeastern Fujian province.
According to the South China Morning Post, Ant Group began working with the PBoC on the digital yuan in 2017, years before China officially debuted for digital currency pilots in 2020. In June 2019, the Chinese digital currency institute reportedly used Ant’s mobile app. development platform to create its own digital yuan app.
Ant Group said it officially began testing China’s digital yuan in July 2020 and launched a digital currency trial in Shanghai at the end of that year. The company also noted that Ant-backed digital bank MYBank became one of the financial institutions that China’s CBDC offered.
Tencent said it began CBDC testing as early as February 2018 and formed a team of digital yuan experts by the end of that year. “Tencent has been participating in the PBOC’s e-CNY project from the outset and will continue to conduct pilot trials in accordance with the PBOC’s guidelines,” said a company spokesman.
Other companies such as smartphone giant Huawei Technologies and e-commerce platform JD.com have also been involved in the development of the digital yuan. Huawei became the first smartphone with a hardware wallet for China’s digital currency last year. JD.com began partnering with the PBoC in September 2020, providing its technology and service support for currency pilots. The company reportedly became the first online platform to accept the digital yuan in late 2020.