China needs to become the first country to issue digital currency, says PBOC

China needs to have a first-mover advantage in the digital currency race, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, has said.

In an article published on the weekend in China Finance, a magazine run by the PBOC, the central bank said China needs to break U.S. dollar dominance and internationalize yuan. Reuters first reported the news.

"China has many advantages and opportunities in issuing fiat digital currencies, so it should accelerate the pace to seize the first track," the article said. It added that digital currency issuance would become a "new battlefield" of competition between countries.

The article also revealed that the PBOC's digital currency research institute had filed 130 patent applications related to digital yuan as of April.

China is moving closer to launch digital currency as state-run commercial banks have reportedly started testing a digital wallet. The PBOC began researching and developing digital yuan six years ago, and its official launch date remains unknown.