Hong Kong-listed Chinese food delivery giant Meituan, which occupies 70% of the market share, on Wednesday started to accept digital yuan for payments, as tested by Forkast.News

Fast facts

  • Users first need to link their wallets to Meituan in the e-CNY app; then they can pay for an order by selecting digital yuan in the list of payment methods.
  • However, the e-CNY payment feature is currently exclusive for users in digital yuan pilot cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
  • Meituan started accepting digital yuan on its food delivery arm right after the e-CNY app was publicly accessible. Previously, its shared bike business had started accepting e-yuan in September. Some 1.5 million users have paid by e-CNY on the platform, Meituan staff told Forkast.News.
  • China’s much-anticipated digital currency has expanded its availability to 50 e-commerce platforms, including online retailer JD.com, food delivery platform Ele.me, Alibaba’s fresh market Tmall Supermarket and ride-hailing platform Didi, according to its mobile phone app. That means the e-CNY can be used to make payments in various scenarios, including shopping, transportation, lifestyle and entertainment. 
  • But it might take more momentum for such a new legal tender to gain more popularity among users. A Shanghai resident told Forkast.News the digital yuan app still lacks functions for making utility bill payments. A Beijing resident said she would prefer Alipay for its wealth management features.
  • Meanwhile, authorities continue to encourage e-yuan usage by distributing vouchers. On Jan. 1, Shenzhen issued e-CNY consumer coupons worth 25 million yuan (US$ 3.9 million) as part of the New Year’s Eve celebration, where vouchers can be used for shopping, taking public transportation, ordering food delivery, buying flight tickets and paying for gas.

Timmy Shen contributed to this report.