China’s digital yuan pilot is gaining momentum with Jiangsu Province planning to expand the use of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) to its public education system, shortly after a city in the province this month began to issue civil servants’ salaries in digital yuan.

See related article: China’s digital yuan needs WeChat, Alipay to boost adoption, experts say

Fast facts

  • Jiangsu plans to allow digital yuan payment in scenarios such as tuition and accommodation fees at public schools, daily use across on-campus vendors, and registration fees for exams, according to a notice by the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education on May 9. Every school under the administration of the department should have at least one digital yuan use case by the end of 2023.
  • The government also plans to expand digital yuan adoption by educational institutions, which will include areas such as the issuance of scholarships, payment of taxes, and purchases made by schools.
  • Digital yuan, also known as e-CNY, is China’s CBDC project that is piloted in at least 26 provinces and cities. The digital currency has been integrated into Alipay and Wechat Pay, China’s two leading third-party payment platforms, and can be used for payment on at least 109 mobile applications, covering services from online shopping to buying gasoline and natural gas.
  • The plan is part of Jiangsu’s efforts to spearhead China’s CBDC initiatives. Suzhou city, capital of Jiangsu Province, was one of the first Chinese cities to start a digital yuan pilot in 2020 that expanded to the rest of the province in February 2023. The province also aims to be one of the top Chinese provinces in terms of digital yuan adoption by the end of 2025. 
  • Since February 2023, over 4 million personal digital yuan accounts have been opened in Jiangsu Province, with total digital yuan transactions of over 200 billion yuan (US$28.72 billion), according to a report by state media outlet People’s Daily on April 25.
  • Changshu, a county-level city in Jiangsu Province, plans to begin issuing state employees’ salaries fully in digital yuan this month.
  • Digital yuan pilots elsewhere in China have expanded this year. Shenzhen, China’s economic metropolis to the north of Hong Kong, published plans in January to explore digital yuan cross-border payments, and started to issue digital yuan hard wallets to Hong Kong tourists in February.

See related article: China’s Changshu city to pay civil servant salaries in digital yuan