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HSBC China Rolls Out e-CNY Services for Corporates, Signalling Foreign Banks’ Dive into Digital Yuan

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 1 min read

HSBC China is now offering e-CNY services to its corporate clientele. The development marks it as the first foreign bank within the nation to extend services associated with the central bank’s digital currency to both retail and corporate sectors.

In a statement on Friday, the HSBC subsidiary said the new service allows corporate clients to connect their business bank accounts with digital yuan accounts for easier asset management.

In 2019, China’s central bank began piloting the e-CNY in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing through a mobile app. It’s essentially a digital version of the regular currency, the yuan, aimed to partially replace physical cash. This digital form was initially designed for retail users to conduct everyday purchases within China.

HSBC and Nord Anglia Blaze Trail for e-CNY Use in Corporate Transactions

To showcase its new corporate e-CNY services, HSBC partnered with Nord Anglia Education Group, a company that manages schools across China. The collaboration involved enabling e-CNY payments in six of its schools located in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Jiaxing, and Suzhou. This successful trial marked the first ever e-CNY payment for the bank.

“The low cost and instant settlement advantages of e-CNY, as well as the automatic conversion function provided by HSBC, also help us achieve cost reduction and efficiency improvement,” said Lin Cheng, deputy director of finance and tax at Nord Anglia Education Group.

“We believe that the continuous improvement of e-CNY infrastructure and the expansion of application scenarios will provide new opportunities for the digital upgrade of campus management.”

Hong Kong Opens Doors to Cross-Border Payments with e-CNY Wallets

Last month, Hong Kong announced that residents could set up digital wallets specifically for making payments across borders. This is seen as an effort to get more people in Hong Kong using the e-CNY.

To open a digital yuan wallet, one would need to go through one of the authorized banks. These include Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank, or Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

In March, HSBC revealed its interest in tokenization by enabling retail investors in Hong Kong to purchase real gold via digital tokens. Following this announcement, the bank said it planned to diversify its range of tokenized assets. However, it clarified its decision to refrain from tokenizing volatile cryptocurrencies.