As the pilot program for China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) — the digital yuan — takes off, Chinese business travelers will reportedly be able to pay for flight tickets using the CBDC.
A collaboration between the China Merchants Bank and the Civil Aviation Administration of China led to the introduction of a digital yuan platform, which aims to facilitate transactions for travelers in the aviation network, according to a local media report.
The newly introduced platform reportedly enables companies and entrepreneurs to utilize the digital yuan for convenient payment of business air tickets. Additionally, passengers will have the opportunity to use the CBDC to access new services via the platform.
China Travel Service, a travel firm based in Suzhou, has already made use of the platform to purchase tickets on behalf of its clients, the report said.
At the inauguration event marking the platform’s official launch on July 18, the Civil Aviation Administration and China Merchants Bank called for more use cases for the CBDC. They said they would collaborate in exploring the digital yuan’s application in diverse areas of the civil aviation industry.
According to the report, the People’s Bank of China — the country’s central bank — has been actively encouraging the use of the digital yuan in China’s transportation network. Notably, Beijing Daxing International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport announced a partnership for a cargo-related digital yuan initiative in 2022.
Related: China’s digital yuan nears $250B transaction volume — Central bank governor
Railway networks, light rail connections, and metro systems in the CBDC’s pilot zone have also been upgraded to facilitate seamless digital yuan payments independent of power or network connections. Furthermore, bus routes within the zone now also facilitate digital yuan payments. Also, earlier this year, several highway toll booths within the pilot zone started accepting the digital yuan as a payment method.
The city of Shenzhen disclosed that nearly 36 million digital yuan wallets have been opened by its residents, with over seven million new wallets created since the start of 2023. This ongoing expansion of the CBDC pilot program across diverse sectors reflects China’s determination to transform its economy by promoting the widespread adoption of the digital yuan.
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