December 5, 2020

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc said on Saturday it has become the country’s first virtual platform to accept Beijing’s homegrown digital currency.

JD Digits, the company’s fintech arm, will accept digital yuan as payment for some products on its online mall, as part of an experimental giveaway of digital yuan to citizens of Suzhou, near Shanghai, according to a post on the company’s official WeChat account.

China’s digital yuan is one of the world’s most advanced “central bank digital currency” initiatives, as authorities globally respond to threats from private currencies such as bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra.

Under the Suzhou programme, the municipal government and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will issue 200 digital yuan “red envelopes” to 100,000 consumers selected through a lottery.

Suzhou’s scheme is the second such digital lottery, after the PBOC issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected consumers in the southern city of Shenzhen.

PBOC Governor Yi Gang said last month that more than 2 billion yuan had been spent using China’s digital currency so far in 4 million separate transactions.

(Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by William Mallard)

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