SCMP: Ant Group Offers e-CNY As New Payment Option via Alipay

Dec 20, 2022

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China is holding the ambition of becoming the first country to launch a sovereign digital currency with e-CNY. In the latest effort, the currency has been added to Alipay, the most popular digital wallet in China, run by Ant Group (affiliated with Alibaba). To enable this option, Ant is restructuring its business in compliance with direction from the Central Bank. From now on, e-commerce shoppers on Alibaba’s platforms (Tmall, Taobao, can pay for their orders immediately with e-CNY. 

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The usage of digital currency is still on a trial in over 20 cities in China and the central bank has been struggling to compete with other forms of mobile payments. The arguments from the officials from the People’s Bank of China are that e-CNY is to replace “notes and coins” and it doesn’t compete against payment services such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. 

Alipay’s adoption of e-CNY as an express payment option will be a great lift for this digital currency development. Alipay already has a customer base of over 1 billion annual active users from August 2019 to August 2020. E-CNY will also get closer to 903 million active users of  Alibaba’s online retail businesses 

According to data from the central bank, transactions using digital currency e-CNY reached 100 billion yuan this August since its launch, up 14% from the end of 2022. However, the number is still modest compared to the growth rate in 6 months from June to December 2021. The currency and related services are expected to be available to broader areas including Guangdong, Sichuan, Hebei and Jiangsu.

Source: China digital currency: Alipay gives e-CNY a lift by offering it as express payment option on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms

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