China has planned to allow foreign athletes and visitors to use the county’s digital currency during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
It has been reported that Li Bo, the Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), said that the upcoming Winter Olympics could potentially become the first test of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) by foreign users.
“For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, we were trying to make e-CNY available not only to domestic users, but also to international athletes and like visitors.”
However, the bank previously announced its plans to test the digital yuan at the event in August 2020. The official said that the PBoC doesn’t intend to replace the US dollar’s dominance as the world’s reserve currency. Li reportedly noted that the central bank is focused on the domestic use of the digital yuan.
“For the internationalization of renminbi, we have said many times that it’s a natural process and our goal is not to replace the U.S. dollar or any other international currency. I think our goal is to allow the market to choose and to facilitate international trade and investment.”
The report said that despite the PBoC’s focus on the domestic digital yuan, China’s central bank is still exploring cross-border CBDC use.
“At the same time, working with our international partners. Hopefully, in the long term, we have a cross-border solution as well. China’s central bank now views the major cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) as an “investment alternative.”
Likewise, after launching its first domestic digital yuan tests in 2020, China started cross-border CBDC pilots in collaboration with central banks in Hong Kong, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates in February.
On April 1, the director of the PBoC’s research bureau, Wang Xin, announced that China’s central bank completed the first cross-border pilots of the digital yuan with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Chinese authorities have stressed multiple times that the government is not seeking to replace existing fiat currencies including the U.S. dollar with the digital yuan.
Thus, Zhou Xiaochuan, the President of the Chinese Finance Association and former PBoC governor, said:
“We are not like Libra and we don’t have an ambition to replace existing currencies.”