Starbucks and McDonald’s are facing rumors of an upcoming real-world test of the proposed Chinese digital yuan currency.
On April 22, it has been reported in a Chinese publication Interchain Pulse that a promotion conference was held in the city of Xiong’an, located close to Beijing, where Government agencies, digital currency developers, and merchants were participating in the upcoming pilot was invited.
However, the initiative is the part of the Xiong’an Smart City program.
It has been analyzed that it began on September 25, 2019, as an association of enterprises, higher education institutions, research institutes and technology companies. Its board of directors includes companies like:
- Alibaba Group,
- Baidu, and others.
Likewise, the conference was joined by a variety of local government institutions, like the Xiong’an branch of the National Development and Reform Committee, which specializes in new technologies, as well as local branches of the People’s Bank of China, which developed the digital currency.
Also, the proposed operators of the digital currency were also present.
It has also been analyzed that heads from Ant Financial and Tencent were present, which are the companies responsible for Alipay and WeChat, currently the most widespread digital payment platforms.
Moreover, the conference included a variety of companies in the retail industry, especially food and beverage, which suggests that these will be the first merchants to test the digital yuan.
And the list notably includes Starbucks and McDonald’s, as well as many catering companies, hotels, supermarkets, bookstores, and other street food vendors.
As per the report, it has been confirmed that the digital currency would be tested in Xiong’an, as four cities were apparently selected for the trials:
- Suzhou, and
However, the digital yuan will be used to pay transport subsidies, with no clarity on how they will be able to spend that money.
Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic had put plans for the digital yuan on hold, as the country gradually returns to normalcy, the plans appear to have been revived.