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China’s WeChat to Allow More In-app CBDC Payments – Digital Yuan Pilot “Accelerates”

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
The WeChat mobile app running on the screen of a smartphone with a laptop keyboard in the background.
Source: burdun/Adobe

The Chinese tech giant Tencent has stated that its WeChat ecosystem will let users make digital yuan payments on applets and video channels.

The move will allow WeChat users to pay via in-app applets using the Chinese central bank digital currency (CBDC).

They will also be able to use the CBDC to shop on e-commerce platforms such as JD.com without leaving the WeChat ecosystem.

WeChat applets, or “mini programs” are apps (often created by third parties) that integrate with the WeChat ecosystem.

This means that WeChat users can access them without exiting the WeChat app, or downloading and installing software to their mobile devices.

Users can search for applets in the WeChat interface by name or by scanning QR codes.

They can also use the app’s e-payment platform WeChat Pay to complete payments.

The first stage of WeChat Pay interoperability was completed early last year.

This allowed WeChat Pay users to choose the digital yuan as a payment option when making in-store purchases.

What Does Latest WeChat Integration Move Mean for the Digital Yuan?

In an official WeChat announcement, the company explained that users would now be able to link their digital yuan wallets to the app to complete applet and video-related payments.

Merchants, meanwhile, will need to ensure they have the required software to accept digital CNY payments.

WeChat said that accounts at “any digital yuan wallet operator” could be used to make payments.

This includes, the firm noted, its own neobanking arm WeBank.

WeChat wrote:

“If you pay on WeChat, you can use the digital yuan for transactions with merchants that support [the coin] in video account and mini program-related scenarios.”

Merchants offering “travel, catering, and retail services” will be among the first to make use of the new payment options, the firm noted.

Multiple Chinese media outlets have this year claimed that the pace of the digital yuan pilot has “accelerated” this year.

Some 26 regions (including many major cities) in 17 provinces are now using the token.

Several of these regions have unveiled detailed plans intended to promote the adoption of the CBDC.

Next month, the digital yuan will be used to pay public sector workers in the city of Changshu “100%” of their salaries.