China launches its digital currency, e-CNY app now in iOS and Android stores

China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has launched the trial version of its digital currency wallet app also known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), in a bid to expand its use. The launch is coming ahead of the Winter Olympics.

The wallet for the digital currency known as e-CNY is now available for download from the iOS and Android mobile app stores in China. The trial regions are Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xian, Qingdao, Dalian, and venues of this year’s Winter Olympics, hosted by Beijing. It was previously available for download through private links.

China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) wallet application was developed by the PBOC Digital Currency Research Institute.

The e-CNY has been under development since 2014. It is issued by the People’s Bank of China which also controls it.  The app is free to use.

In November, the head of the PBOC Digital Currency Research Institute, Mu Changchun, said that as of October 2021 about 140 million Chinese residents had opened a digital yuan account with accumulated transactions reaching 62 billion yuan (US$9.7 billion).

Last year, several businesses, such as e-commerce giant, JD.com, accepted the digital Yuan as payment. However, it has not yet been officially pushed for use outside China, and there is no official timetable for doing so.

Currently, China’s mobile payments market is dominated by Alipay owned by Ant group and Tencent’s WeChat Pay. The e-CNY is likely to increase competition in China’s mobile payment market.