By offering China’s digital currency in trial as a payments option in all pilot areas, payments giant WeChat Pay is paving the way for the wider adoption of the digital yuan in the world’s most advanced digital payments market.

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Fast facts

  • WeChat Wednesday said that users can open digital yuan wallets by registering through Tencent-backed WeBank, so they can make payments and transfer money directly within WeChat using e-CNY.
  • The expanded feature comes as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) expanded the e-CNY pilot areas to 23 cities and special zones earlier this week.
  • E-CNY trials have made progress over the past year, but adoption of the new currency still pales in comparison with the traditional mobile payment market dominated by WeChat Pay and Alipay.
  • At the end of last year, the digital yuan’s historical transactions reached 87.57 billion yuan (US$13.76 billion), according to data from the PBoC — a 154% increase from June 2021.
  • The digital yuan has already been available through WeChat Pay and Alipay since January in certain pilot areas when the PBoC publicly launched the e-CNY app.

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