TIANJIN - On January 22, the first day of the Year of the Rabbit, Li, a native of Tianjin, northern China, prepared for her daughter what in China is called a “red box”, which is a monetary gift traditionally given by the elderly. For the younger generation during the Spring Festival or the beginning of the Chinese New Year.
Instead of pulling cash out of a bank and putting it in a red envelope, this year she chose to use the e-CNY mobile app, to pass on her blessing in digital currency.
This 200-yuan ($29.62) virtual red package has a vibrant wrapper with not only cute gifs on it but also a message carefully chosen by the mom: try not to be bothered. “The digital yuan red box is easy to play for old people like me and interesting enough to attract the attention of young people,” Li said.
Issued by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, the digital yuan was issued as legal tender, designed to be treated as M0, i.e. cash in circulation, like coins and banknotes. At present, 17 provincial-level regions in China have experimented with digital yuan.
During the week-long Spring Festival holiday, which began on January 21 this year, a large number of digital yuan red packets were also distributed to residents across the country to stimulate the consumer market. Cities, including Beijing, the capital, Hangzhou, and Zhejiang Province in the east, and Shenzhen, Guangdong Province in the south, have all issued e-CNY vouchers.
From January 16, Hangzhou issued digital yuan vouchers worth 4 million yuan to city residents, each with a face value of 80 yuan.
The Tianjin branch of China Construction Bank has launched a digital yuan promotion, offering discounts of up to 50 percent to those who spend digital yuan on watching movies, shopping or consuming food during the Spring Festival holiday.
Shenzhen distributed 2 million digital yuan red packets for restaurant consumption in mid-January, with a total value of 100 million yuan. Through the lottery, citizens can get coupons ranging from 28 yuan to 666 yuan. The numbers six and eight symbolize good luck in Chinese culture.
Qiu Qiu (not real name) from Shenzhen got a free KFC meal with a digital yuan coupon with a face value of 28 yuan. “Many of my friends have drawn red packets with the digital yuan, and everyone is discussing how to get better discounts when using it.”
Gao Nan, a professor at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, believes that the combination of the digital yuan and the Chinese New Year can accelerate public awareness and promotion of e-CNY.
“Technological innovation injects more new impetus into traditional festivals,” said Gao.
Data from the People’s Bank of China showed that the amount of the digital yuan in circulation reached 13.61 billion yuan by the end of 2022, as it called for efforts to facilitate the interdependence between the digital yuan system and traditional electronic payment tools to make them more convenient for customers to use. digital currency.
As of late January, more than 90 Internet platforms, including majors such as JD, Taobao, and Meituan, which collect rich consumption scenes, have also opened to digital currency adoption.
According to Meituan data, more than 16 million digital currency sub-wallets have been pushed into the Meituan app, generating nearly 40 million digital yuan trading orders.