Tourists with plans to explore the People’s Republic of China have a new avenue of convenience at their disposal.
The nation is actively enhancing the functionality of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot, specifically within the mobile application known as the e-CNY app.
Currently in its beta phase, this application caters to iPhone users residing in select regions within China, with the promise of forthcoming Android support.
This application is a gateway for individual users to establish digital yuan wallets for seamless e-CNY transactions.
In the most recent update on 22 September under version 1.1.1, the e-CNY app has expanded its capabilities to include top-up services with international payment card options such as Visa and MasterCard.
This development coincides with the commencement of the Asian Games, reflecting China’s commitment to fostering a tech-savvy environment for both residents and international visitors.
China has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to pioneering the adoption of the digital yuan as a preferred payment method, particularly for foreign tourists.
Notably, the CBDC pilot opened its doors to tourists during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, enabling them to conduct transactions with local merchants using e-CNY.
Remarkably, inbound tourists can now effortlessly register and activate e-CNY wallets using their overseas mobile numbers, with the added convenience of Visa and MasterCard payment support.
Dong Ximiao, the chief researcher at Merchants Union Consumer Finance, observes that mobile payment services, as prolific as they are in China, have not attained the same widespread usage in most foreign countries and regions.
The forthcoming upgrade holds the promise of not only enhancing the payment convenience for foreigners within China but also serves as a vital testing ground for the e-CNY platform’s international viability.
Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank, perceives this upgrade as a significant boon for foreigners and an avenue to bolster e-CNY’s prominence in cross-border financial transactions.
In the broader context, this development hints at the potential acceleration of digital RMB’s ascent on the international stage.