According to China's state institution Xinhua News Agency, Lan Zou, head of monetary policy at the People's Bank of China (PBoC), announced that the country would be expanding the number of digital yuan (e-CNY) test sites in the country from 11 to 23.
They are spread out across 15 out of 31 of China's provinces and autonomous regions. The PBoC is China's central bank and is responsible for the development of the e-CNY central bank digital currency, or CBDC. During Wednesday's press conference, Zou praised the success of the recent e-CNY rollout, stating:
"e-CNY trials during the first half of 2022, such as acting as a means of payment during the Beijing Olympics, were spectacularly successful. The e-CNY has demonstrated to be an invaluable tool in improving quality of life, stimulating consumption, growing internal demand, and ensuring steady economic development through its functions such as smart contract utility.
In its latest data update, Chinese consumers have spent a cumulative 264 million transactions amounting to 83 billion CNY ($12.35 billion) as of May 31. More than 4,567,000 merchants across the country have begun accepting the CBDC. For the next steps, Zou says the PBoC plans to further increase the number of e-CNY test sites and enhance its technological capabilities.
During China's ongoing strict coronavirus lockdowns, provincial and municipal officials frequently partnered with the country's tech enterprises to unveil e-CNY airdrops. Users who received digital yuan could then spend the "gift" at specified platforms and in-app merchant terminals as part of an initiative to revitalize consumer spending.
Aside from consumer goods, the e-CNY can be used to pay for various bills, such as taxes, at various municipalities.