SANYA, October 5. /TASS/. The Sanya authorities donated 10 million yuan (about $ 1.55 million) to residents and tourists to test the national digital currency, reported the China Daily.
According to the news outlet, more than 117,600 people applied for participation in the digital yuan tests. At least 28,000 of them were selected by drawing lots. They received an amount of 200, 500 or 800 yuan (about 31, 78 or 124 dollars, respectively) on their digital accounts.
According to the test conditions, these funds must be spent before October 19. In order to do so, participants need to install a mobile application and set up an online wallet of one of the six state-owned banks in China.
This digital yuan test was organized by Hainan's Treasury Department and the People's Bank of China (the country's central bank). The donated funds can be spent on 1,300 businesses on the island, including supermarkets, hotels and duty free stores. The financing for this event was provided by Sanya's government. As the organizers noted, the tests themselves do not yet mean the launch of a program for the free use of the digital yuan on Hainan.
China began implementing a national virtual currency at the end of 2019. The digital yuan is electronic money centrally issued by the People's Bank of China. They cost the same as regular Chinese paper banknotes. According to the plans of the country's central bank, over time, the digital yuan should replace part of the cash in circulation.
It is still possible to pay with such currency in China only in certain places. Since the end of 2019, the digital yuan has been tested in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu, Beijing and the Xiong'an New Economic Zone near Beijing. In October 2020, the Chinese authorities added Shanghai, Changsha, Xi'an, Qingdao, Dalian and Hainan Province to the list. Currently, the digital yuan is available to a limited number of users: by the end of June, about 20.9 million private and 3.5 million corporate wallets were opened, and the total volume of transactions amounted to 34.5 billion yuan (about $ 5.3 billion). It is planned that during the Winter Olympic Games in February 2022, athletes and guests will be able to pay in digital yuan.