China Unveils Digital Yuan Wallet Machine for Foreign Passport Holders

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: megaflopp/Adobe
A person’s hand holding US dollar banknotes at a banking machine.

China has launched its first automated digital yuan wallet-opening machine for overseas passport holders.

Per 21Jingji, the Bank of China’s Dongguan Branch has installed the machine at the Taiping branch of the Huangpu Customs Hall.

Dongguan and Huangpu are major transport hubs for travelers from Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Japan and South Korea.

The media outlet published a photograph of the machine, noting that it was the first of its kind to launch in the nation.

A traveler uses a digital yuan wallet-opening machine in the Huangpu Customs Hall, China.
Source: 21Jingji/Screenshot

The machine allows users to exchange foreign currency banknotes for digital yuan coins on an automatically opened hard wallet.

Existing digital yuan wallet holders can also use the machine to make overseas cash-powered top-ups.

They can also use the machine to check on the remaining balance of online or “offline” hard wallets – smartcards or wearable devices.

More Chinese CBDC Machines to Come?

The bank explained that the machine supports cash-to-CBDC exchange “in 18 currencies, including US dollars, euros, Hong Kong dollars, and Macau patacas.”

The machine features support for seven languages besides Chinese: English, French, Japanese, German, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

Only travelers who have passed customs checks can use the machine, the media outlet added.

Users also need to provide proof of identity using an overseas passport.

But the machine is also compatible with Hong Kong and Macau ID cards, as well as “other identity verification methods.”

The bank claimed that the machine would “meet the needs of Hong Kong and Macao residents” visiting the Mainland,” as well as “foreigners and tourists visiting Dongguan.”

Other parts of the Pearl River Delta have previously launched digital yuan wallet “machines.”

But these have been aimed exclusively at Hong Kong and Macau travelers as part of an unofficial testbed for digital yuan expansion.

A map of the Pearl River Delta.
A map of the Pearl River Delta. (Source: ClausHansen [CC BY-SA 2.0])

The central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has previously updated its official digital yuan app to include payment options for overseas bank card holders.

The PBoC has even launched an English-language usage guide for its app as it looks to boost the overseas appeal of its coin.

The PBoC has successfully linked its coin to the Hong Kong Fast Payment System.

The bank will seek to showcase the CBDC at major sporting events next year, including the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.