Meituan, a Chinese food delivery service, has become the newest tech company to accept payments in central bank digital currency (CBDC). China’s CBDC is e-CNY.
Meituan customers can link their electronic yuan wallet to their service application and use it to book hotels, transportation, and pay at restaurants, among other things. Last year, the food delivery and daily services app had 660 million active users, and the addition of e-CNY payments will only help the Beijing government expand the use of its sovereign digital currency.
China finished the creation of its CBDC in 2019, and the government has been intensively testing its application in the retail industry for the previous two years. The CBDC pilot began as a government employee travel subsidy and has since grown to encompass millions of citizens and thousands of enterprises. Major tech companies in China, including WeChat and JD.com, have already joined the e-CNY mass retail experiment in recent months.
Only a few countries, notably China, South Korea, Switzerland, and France, have reached the pilot phase of their CBDC development. The United States is actually in the midst of debating the benefits and drawbacks of a national digital currency.