Starbucks and McDonald’s Could Trial China’s Central Bank Digital Currency

Restaurant giants Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway could test China’s central bank digital currency, according to a local report.

A meeting was organised by the reform and development bureau of the Xiong’an New Area management committee. Several digital currency research and development institutions, as well as pilot merchants, were invited to participate, the report said.

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It added that Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway and Qing-Feng Baozi, a popular Chinese chain of dumpling shops, were mentioned on the list of invited pilot merchants.

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, the report noted.

It also explained that pilot programs in Xiong’an New Area are mainly targeted at food and retail companies.

Trials in Suzhou city, on the other hand, are primarily aimed at local government employees, according to other market sources.

New developments

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 piloting a wallet app for the digital yuan.

The mobile app appears to support the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) proposed central bank currency (CBDC).

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

He added 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, it said that 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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