Ant Group and China’s state-owned online bank MYbank are expanding the trial of the digital yuan to more people, with a tool added for Alipay users.
Alibaba’s Ant Group is the official partner of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) for its Digital Yuan — also known as e-CNY — and has a 30 percent stake in the country’s MYbank, according to a report from the state-owned China Securities Journal on Monday (May 10).
“As one of the participants in the trial of the e-CNY, Ant Group’s associate MYbank will steadily advance the trial pursuant to the overall arrangement of the People’s Bank of China. Ant Group, together with MYbank, will also continue to support the research, development and trial of PBOC’s e-CNY,” Ant Group said per the statement.
Liu Bin, director of the Financial Research Office of the Shanghai Pudong Reform and Development Research Institute, said that the previous trials done with six state-owned institutions didn’t use third-party payment apps.
“Traditional banks do not have much advantage in the field of payment, especially in the field of mobile payment,” Bin said.
By the end of last year, MYbank’s customer base grew 68 percent from 2019, counting some 35 million small businesses and households as users, CNBC reported.
China has said that it wants to see people using the digital yuan at upcoming shopping festivals in Shanghai and other cities in the country, per CBNC.
Tencent’s WeBank was also a participant in the trial, which started rolling out earlier this year.
The digital yuan differs from a cryptocurrency like bitcoin because it is controlled by a single entity as opposed to a decentralized network.
China’s central bank has said that the digital yuan won’t replace app-based payments like AliPay and WeChat Pay, which comprise 98 percent of the country’s mobile payments market.
The central bank has been giving digital yuan away to people to test the currency’s retail use in Shenzhen and Suzhou.