Ex-analyst of the Central Bank of China called low interest in the digital yuan


The total volume of transactions in e-CNY in two years amounted to a little more than 100 billion yuan ($14 billion), which is “not ideal”. This is the conclusion of the former Director of Research NBKProfessor of Finance at Tsinghua University Xie Ping, writes Caixin.

“Usage [CBDC] was low, extremely inactive”the official said.

At the end of 2021, there were 261 million unique digital wallets in the system, despite the improvement of their functionality and the expansion of pilot projects, he added.

By comparison, there were 903.6 million people using mobile payments in China on the same date, according to a China UnionPay report.

According to Xie Ping, the authorities should reconsider the scenarios for using e-CNY. In addition to the current replacement for cash, it is necessary, for example, to provide for the possibility of paying for financial products or connecting to more payment platforms.

The former official compared CBDC to China’s popular WeChat Pay, Alipay and QQ Wallet systems, which allow for investment, lending or borrowing. According to him, they “formed the structure of the payment market, which satisfies the daily needs of citizens.”

Some third party financial applications are compatible with e-CNY. The ex-analyst emphasized that people are used to using the original service, and changing this pattern of behavior is “difficult.”

China has been testing e-CNY for three years. Tests were held in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, Dalian and the Winter Olympic Games area.

In July 2021, authorities in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, tested a digital yuan with pre-programmed use cases.

In the spring of 2022, the former head of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, noted that e-CNY is primarily intended for the public and merchants, and not to replace SWIFT or “weaponize the currency.”

The former functionary then added that the digital yuan could be adapted for cross-border payments in the future, but in this case, the CBDC will still be focused on retail users.

Recall that in September, the media reported on the expansion of e-CNY testing to four provinces.

In November, Shanghai authorities distributed CBDC to 7 million residents through a red envelope lottery.

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