China’s digital yuan wallets see mass adoption but usage lags

A Chinese national flag flutters outside the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, the Chinese central bank, in Beijing, April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

China’s digital currency has debuted on app stores with fanfare, with online wallets for the electronic yuan seeing mass adoption in the two weeks since a public launch, yet its actual use in transactions has been far less impressive.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is ramping up testing of the digital currency, dubbed e-CNY, ahead of next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics. But the use of e-CNY is still limited to 10 major “pilot” cities and hampered by people’s preference for Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, which dominate China’s online payments.

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