The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, has started handing out 20 million (3.06 million dollars) worth of red envelopes to consumers in the southern Chinese city of Suzhou to promote the acceptance of digital yuan.
The PBOC issued 100,000 red envelopes, each worth 200 yuan, to Suzhou citizens through a lottery. The digital money could be used to buy products from nearly 100 designated shops in the city, during the “Double 12” online shopping festival.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com became the first online platform to accept digital yuan as payment made by Suzhou consumers.
Customers can also use apps with digital yuan offline payment functions to complete transfers or payments through mobile phones when the network is not available, according to Mu Changchun with PBOC.
Suzhou is the second city to try the digital lottery. In October, the PBOC issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected consumers in Shenzhen. In the Shenzhen activity, about 8.764 million yuan worth of transactions were made using red envelope money.
The digital yuan trial will also take place in Xiongan New Area, Chengdu, as well the venues of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
The activity should also include cities that lead the country in digital economy development such as Beijing and Shanghai, as well as those lagging behind in this respect, including Lanzhou, Urumqi in Xinjiang and Lhasa in Tibet, suggested Dong Ximiao, chief researcher of Merchants Union Consumer Finance Co Ltd.
By the end of August, there were about 6,700 trial scenarios using digital yuan in China, covering bill payments, transport, and government services.