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China to Showcase Digital Yuan at Summer World University Games

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
The Anshun Bridge over the River Jinjiang in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
Source: LP2Studio/Adobe

Student-athletes from around the world will get the chance to use China’s digital yuan in July, with the CBDC put to use at the Summer World University Games in Chengdu.

Per the Chinese media outlet The Cover, the games will become the first “major international sports event” to “officially use the digital yuan following the Beijing Winter Olympics.”

The Summer World University Games is a biannual event that sees university students from around the world compete in a number of sports, such as athletics, rowing, swimming, gymnastics, and tennis.

Organizers claimed they had “successfully created” public digital yuan wallets that will be used by the event’s Executive Committee.

The organizers also claimed they had “achieved initial results” in applying the CBDC to event-connected “scenarios” such as catering, medical care, and transport.

The event will be held in locations around Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and nearby Jianyang County from July 28 to August 8, with a total of 34 nations competing.

A torch relay starting from Peking University began this week.

  A Chinese student carries the Summer World University Games torch and runs down tree-lined a city road.
A Chinese student carries the Summer World University Games torch on the first leg of a nationwide relay that will end up in the city of Chengdu. (Source: Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games)

The Digital Yuan at the Summer World University Games

The event’s official partner is the state-owned commercial bank the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

The ICBC was one of the first banks in China to launch a digital yuan wallet back in 2020.

But the organizers have not yet announced if athletes will be issued with digital yuan hard wallets, as was the case at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

During the Olympics, the only form of payment accepted at Olympic Village outlets were Visa card payments and the digital yuan.

But efforts to showcase the coin to the world were hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, which meant no spectators were allowed at the event.

Chinese financial sector officials are hoping to repeat the showcase on a larger scale at the Asian Games in September.

The Asia Games will be held in Hangzhou from September 23 and will likely see a range of digital yuan promotions prepared for international spectators.

A range of commemorative, wearable, games-themed digital yuan hard wallets has already been developed ahead of the opening ceremony.

Public transport networks in and around Hangzhou have also been upgraded so they can accept digital yuan payments.

Student Athletes to Use CBDC?

The Summer World University Games had originally been slated to take place in Chengdu in 2021.

But the games were postponed due to the pandemic, as well as clashes with other Olympic events.

The event will thus be held under the shorthand name “Chengdu 2021” – despite the fact it is being held two years late.

The Hongyi Gymnasium at the Sichuan Vocational and Technical College of Communications, in Chengdu, China.
The Hongyi Gymnasium at the Sichuan Vocational and Technical College of Communications, which will host volleyball events during the games. (Source: Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games)

Prior to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, an event had been slated to take place in Russia’s Yekaterinburg this year.

But that was scrapped by the games’ governing body, the International University Sports Federation, following the outbreak of war in 2022.