Chinese Banks Looking to Use Digital Yuan in Funds and Insurance Sector

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

Some of China’s biggest commercial banks are looking to pilot digital yuan use cases for funds and insurance-related products – in a major move away from the core functions of the pilot thus far.

Source: Adobe/Aleksandra Sova

Since the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) began its pilots, initiatives have focused on B2C payments in stores or on public transport networks. But per the South China Morning Post, the Bank of Communications, and the China Construction Bank (CCB) “say they are working with fund managers and insurers” as part of a bid to “explore” the expansion if the token’s use “beyond low-value daily retail payments.”

The CCB, one of China’s “big four” banks, has announced it is working with Shanghai Tiantian Fund Distribution, part of a business group operated by the financial data provider and media outlet East Money, as well as the e-commerce behemoth JD. The partnership will allow pilot participants with digital yuan holdings to make online fund investments.

The Bank of Communications, meanwhile, has not yet named the insurers and/or fund managers it is working with.

The bank’s Executive Vice President was quoted as stating that it was his firm’s “obligation to facilitate the development and liquidity of the currency,” adding that it had “made a lot of preparations to ensure the high efficiency and steady operations of the digital yuan system.”

But the same media outlet pointed to figures that show that “as of June,” the Bank of Communications had seen 6.3m digital yuan transactions go through its platforms thus far – worth a total of USD 387m.

The CCB said it had seen 28.5m digital yuan transactions (worth some USD 2.9bn) go through its systems since pilots began.

The Bank of Communications is one of China’s oldest banks, and is the fifth-largest in the Middle Kingdom. Although it is something of a latecomer to the digital yuan pilot project, it has been one of the most active in recent months. Earlier this month it took part in a digital yuan giveaway event with JD, involving allowing lucky draw winners to spend their PBoC-issued tokens on the platform.

Earlier this year, the Bank of Communications revealed it was working on its own digital yuan-compatible wallet, which will rival the offerings already unveiled in beta tests by the “big four.”

At least eight banks are now involved in the pilot. In addition to the above, these include the China Merchants Bank, the China CITIC Bank, the Postal Savings Bank of China and the remainder of the “big four” (the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China and the Bank of China).
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