JD.com, an online retailing platform ranked by trading volume as No. 1 in China and No. 13 globally by Deloitte, said it will accept electronic yuan (e-CNY) payments during the upcoming Double 11 shopping festival and will issue digital yuan coupons during the event.

Fast facts

  • The Double 11 shopping festival refers to a Chinese online sales day on Nov. 11 each year, something akin to the Chinese version of “Black Friday.” The festival originates from an online promotion held by Alibaba on Nov. 11, 2009. The day gradually became a fixed festival for large-scale promotional events on major e-commerce platforms in China due to the resulting sales volume. Nov. 11 is also known as the Singles’ Day — the four sticks in the 11.11 date resembling four single persons.
  • On this day, merchants generally launch various coupons to increase sales. JD.com said they will distribute e-CNY red packets to encourage buyers to set up personal digital renminbi wallets, thereby increasing the adoption rate of digital yuan.
  • As China slowly rolls out the world’s first major central bank digital currency (CBDC), promotions of the digital yuan are accelerating. In addition to the central bank placing at least 18 batches of red packets in 10 cities, Chinese tech giants are embracing the e-CNY adoption. The food delivery and shared bicycle giant Meituan announced its digital yuan promotion plan has resulted in the growth of more than 1 million newly opened personal e-CNY wallets. The event launched e-CNY red packets for bike-sharing businesses in nine digital yuan pilot cities.
  • The upcoming Winter Olympics stands to be a milestone in launching the e-CNY, and the digital yuan is expected to officially land nationwide after the Beijing Winter Olympics testing is completed, a report in April from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics said. There are less than four months before the Winter Olympics, which will start on Feb. 4, 2022. 
  • So far there has been no official announcement on the launch date for the e-CNY, yet the expanding number and the scope of pilot projects make the current trial runs seem more like a soft rollout.