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Suzhou Next to Test Digital Yuan with New ‘Tap’ Feature

Shortly after stress testing the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) in Shenzhen, China is rolling out an even larger stress test this month in Suzhou on one of China’s most busy e-commerce days – December 12. Based on a report by Nikkei Asia, China will be allowing shoppers to not only make purchases with the digital yuan provided, but will also facilitate digital yuan transfers between mobile phones with just a simple tap of devices between a smaller pool of citizens.

In addition to a digital yuan trial by lottery in Suzhou, similar to the one first revealed in Shenzhen’s Luohu District, 1,000 citizens will be provided with Huawei smartphones provided by Huawei Technologies to test out this new tap function on a small-scale. As previously reported, the use of the digital yuan does not require Internet connection and wifi. The process seems to be as simple as utilizing Bluetooth in other phones to transfer files between one person to another.

The Suzhou digital yuan test will happen on December 12, where 100,000 citizens would have been given 200 renminbi (~30USD) by then to spend in physical stores. With online and physical stores, including e-commerce juggernaut Taobao, nationwide offering discounts and promotions, to say that payment networks in China on December 12 will be overloaded is an understatement. 

Not only must the technology behind the digital yuan work during the trial, the process of using the digital yuan must be user-friendly and present a good, competitive alternative to traditional digital payments. The feedback from the previous Shenzhen trial was overall negative, with shoppers saying that the interface for the digital yuan wallet does not convince them to use it over other more sophisticated payment methods they are already accustomed to, such as WeChat Pay or AliPay.

While the rest of the world is still focused on the design and research of their respective national digital currencies, China is already sprinting ahead as it fine tunes the user interface and real citizen usability of the DCEP.

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