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Consumer goods expo gives digital renminbi a boost

By He Wei and Ma Zhiping in Haikou, Hainan province | | Updated: 2021-05-08 14:04
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China Construction Bank accepts digital currency payment via an automated coffee stand at the China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, Hainan province on May 7. [Photo by He Wei/]

China is turbocharging the pilot use of digital currency nationwide through an array of campaigns to boost consumption.

One latest example is the promotion of digital renminbi at the ongoing China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, capital city of Hainan province, where banks encourage the adoption of the new function through various incentives like steep discounts on certain merchandise.

At the expo, two autonomous coffee machines at a China Construction Bank booth allow visitors to purchase tailor-made beverages using digital currency. This novel payment method slashes nine yuan off the original price of 9.9 yuan ($1.54) per cup, compared with more conventional channels like Alipay and WeChat Pay.

To enjoy such perks, people need to possess a debit account at the bank, activate the digital currency function through a few taps on their smartphones, and transfer some cash from the bank account to the digital currency vehicle. The entire process takes around two to three minutes.

Agricultural Bank of China, another State-owned lender, is using similar tactics to attract users. At present, digital currencies are only available at banks where people have debit card accounts.

Shanghai is also leveraging a citywide 5-5 shopping festival to accelerate the pace of digital currency adoption. Pilot use of the digital currency has become available in the downtown pedestrian area of Nanjing Road, where a string of local retailers accept the payment method.

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