HSBC, Hang Seng Join China’s Digital Yuan Pilot

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
The HSBC sign on a bank branch in Beijing, China.
Source: Eagle/Adobe

The international banking giants HSBC and Hang Seng Bank have joined China’s digital yuan pilot.

21st Century Business Herald reported that a group of “four foreign banks” have “officially announced the launch of digital yuan business.”

HSBC’s Chinese arm confirmed its participation in the CBDC pilot on its social media channels.

Hang Seng Bank (China) has also confirmed it is joining the pilot, alongside Fubon Bank (China).

Standard Chartered’s Chinese arm confirmed its own participation in the pilot earlier this week.

Shanghai Securities News wrote that HSBC China customers’ debit cards can now “support personal digital yuan wallet services.”

Holders of the bank’s debit cards can also use the official digital yuan app to activate and deactivate wallets.

They can also use their conventional debit cards to top up digital RMB wallets, the bank said.

The media outlets remarked that the group of four was the “first batch of foreign banks to participate in the digital yuan pilot.”

This appears to be a suggestion that more overseas financial institutions could soon follow.

The media outlets posted screenshots of the digital yuan app, which now shows the logos of the four banks in its interface.

The logos of four overseas banks that have joined the digital yuan pilot as seen in the digital yuan app.
The logos of the four overseas banks joining the Chinese CBDC pilot as seen in the digital yuan app. (From top: HSBC China, Standard Chartered China, Fubon Bank China, Hang Seng Bank) (Source: 21st Century Herald/Screenshot)

HSBC & More ‘Foreign Banks’ Making CBDC Moves

Hong Kong’s RTHK reported that Standard Chartered Bank had confirmed that its Mainland China arm “has accessed the digital yuan interconnection platform.”

The bank noted that it was working with a Mainland Chinese chartered clearing organization overseen by the People’s Bank of China.

The media outlet noted that Standard Chartered China has “begun to provide customers with digital yuan exchange [services].”

A customer uses the digital yuan to pay in a store via her smartphone.
A customer uses the digital yuan to pay in a store. (Source: Agricultural Bank of China Remote Banking Center/Weibo/Screenshot)

Both HSBC and Hang Seng have been stepping up their CBDC adoption plans of late, in Hong Kong and abroad.

Earlier this month, Visa announced the completion of a Hong Kong Monetary Authority-led CBDC pilot program, with both banks participating.

And in Mainland China, the Bank of Communications – a firm HSBC owns a 19% stake in – has recently co-launched a digital yuan-powered recycling rewards program.

The program sees citizens in the city of Qingdao receive CBDC token rewards in exchange for recycling household waste.