Starbucks, McDonald's could trial China's central bank digital currency - report

Quick Take

  • Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway could reportedly test China’s central bank digital currency
  • The trials could take place in the city of Xiong’an New Area

Restaurant giants Starbucks, McDonald's and Subway could reportedly test China’s central bank digital currency.

Local media outlet InterChain Pulse reported the news on Thursday, saying that it was “exclusively” informed about a “pilot promotion meeting” of the digital currency held in Xiong'an New Area.

The meeting was reportedly organized by the reform and development bureau of the Xiong'an New Area management committee, and several digital currency research and development institutions, as well as pilot merchants, were invited to participate.

Among the list of invited 19 pilot merchants, Starbucks, McDonald's and Subway were mentioned, per the report. The popular Chinese chain of dumpling shops Qing-Feng Baozi is also reportedly on the list, among others. These include local hotels, convenience stores, a stuffed bun shop, a bakery, and a bookstore.

Other participants include employees from the Xiongan branches of four major commercial banks— the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank, as well as representatives from Tencent and Alipay.

Pilot programs in Xiong'an New Area are mainly targeted at food and retail companies, per the report. Trials in Suzhou city, on the other hand, are primarily aimed at local government employees, as The Block reported last week.

Several new developments have emerged in recent weeks about China’s national digital currency. Last week, the Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China were said to be piloting a wallet app for the digital yuan.

An official from China’s central bank also recently confirmed that some state-owned banks are conducting internal tests of digital currency in four cities - Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong'an New Area and Chengdu.

The official further said that the digital currency could also be used in the 2022 Winter Olympics event, hinting at a possible launch by mid-2021. 

China's central bank has been researching digital yuan since 2014. Earlier this year, the central bank said the digital currency is “progressing smoothly” and that its “top-level” design has been completed. The official launch date, however, still remains unknown. 

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