While China continues to stomp on the cryptocurrency industry, its blockchain technology keeps advancing in accordance with the country’s national strategy and its 14th five-year plan.

Ansteel Group, a state-owned iron and steel maker, is among the latest to incorporate blockchain technology into its business. Its international trade unit recently issued blockchain-based electronic credit certificates worth a total of 260 million yuan (US$40 million) to Rio Tinto Group, an Anglo-Australian multinational and one of the world’s largest iron giants, according to a company statement released Thursday.

The company’s blockchain attempt marks its ambition to adopt the technology for cross-border settlements.

Through the partnership with another state-owned steel producer, China Baowu Steel Group — which operates a cross-border trade financial settlement platform in collaboration with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China — Ansteel issued its first US$34 million credit certificate through blockchain, paving the way for more blockchain adoption within its businesses, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Tianneng Co. Ltd., a Shanghai-listed electric vehicle lithium battery maker, has entered into a partnership with AntChain, the blockchain arm of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group, the company said Thursday in a statement.

As part of the strategic partnership, Tianneng and AntChain plan to adopt more blockchain technology to log data onto the blockchain to facilitate Tianneng’s making and distribution of batteries.

AntChain said in the statement that it intends to participate in the battery trading market in the future, through its internet of things (IoT) and blockchain technology that could be used to collect data from Tianneng’s battery modules.

The companies’ moves come in line with China’s national strategy to develop the emerging technology.

In 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping began emphasizing a need for the nation to develop blockchain technology, calling for more research, investment and regulation. In March this year, for the first time, the words blockchain and digital currency were officially written into the country’s blueprint for its near future.

China’s 14th five-year plan, which covers 2021 to 2025, has a whole chapter on digital transformation in every sector of Chinese society, ranging from real industries to governmental administration.

In a chapter called “Accelerating digitalization development and building a digital China,” the government pledged to “strengthen the innovative applications of key digital technologies” and “accelerate digital industrialization.” The national government also mentioned the term “blockchain technology” for the first time in a five-year plan. “We will foster and strengthen emerging digital industries, such as AI, big data, blockchain technology, cloud computing, and cybersecurity,” the document said.

China, however, has a very different stance on cryptocurrency. It has been actively cracking down on the cryptocurrency industry through measures that range from bans on crypto mining to blocking crypto exchanges’ social media accounts

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