China Looks to Ramp up ‘Cross-border’ Digital Yuan Spending

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
The Hairui Mu Tomb in Haikou, Hainan Province, China.
Source: Keitma/Adobe

Chinese bank chiefs are looking to start 2024 by driving up “cross-border” digital yuan spending.

Per the Haikou Municipal Commerce Bureau (via Hainan News), the tourism hub of Haikou has begun issuing over $706,000 worth of “offshore tax-free coupons” for digital yuan-paying customers.

Haikou is also known as Coconut City and before the coronavirus pandemic welcomed some 83 million visitors a year.

The giveaway is the brainchild of three of the nation’s biggest state-owned banks, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, and the Agricultural Bank of China.

The banks have attempted to remove friction for digital yuan consumers by allowing them to claim the vouchers in-store.

People using their digital yuan wallets to spend upward of $2,800 can redeem vouchers worth over $141, the banks said.

The offer will run until mid-January at participating retailers, the banks confirmed.

More Chinese Cities Aim to Expand Cross-border CBDC Spending

Elsewhere, Mainland Chinese cities are starting to offer more options for “cross-border” CBDC spending.

Cities such as Shenzhen are leading the way, targeting Hong Kong residents and overseas tourists entering the Mainland from Hong Kong.

JRJ reported that the Shenzhen Branch of the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said the city’s Luohu District had “deployed 17 digital RMB hard wallet self-service card issuance machines in its port area.”

The PBoC added that “as of the end of November,” a total of 25,000 visitors to Shenzhen had used these machines to open CBDC wallets.

The machines let visitors automatically open CBDC wallets. They can then access their wallets via smartcards and wearable devices.

The city said it was working on “expanding application scenarios” for the coin and “boosting adoption” in the year ahead.

Shenzhen said it was also “fully considering” possible “risks and challenges to ensure the steady advancement of the pilot.”

Last week, the Bank of China’s Dongguan Branch unveiled the country’s first automated digital yuan wallet-opening machine for overseas passport holders.

The PBoC also seems to be readying a move that could see it expand digital yuan adoption among ASEAN trading partners.