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ATMs to take e-CNY evolution forward

By SHI JING in Shanghai and ZHOU LANXU in Beijing | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-02 08:36

A staff member of the Bank of Communications Beijing Branch instructs a visitor to open a digital RMB wallet on a mobile phone, on June 16, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Application scenarios for the e-CNY, China's digital currency, will increase further as two-way e-cash flows will be made more accessible with the expected introduction of novel automated teller machines.

Information from the China National Intellectual Property Administration showed the patent for the e-CNY ATM was announced on June 28. When such ATMs become ubiquitous, users can complete making deposits and withdrawals of the digital yuan under better security conditions, experts said.

According to the Digital Currency Research Institute, which operates under the aegis of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, trials of e-CNY deposits and withdrawals through the special ATMs had already started at certain branches of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China in Beijing in June 2021.

The institute's experts said the digital yuan will assume the same functions as that of the renminbi in circulation. Two-way cash flows of the e-CNY at commercial banks' ATMs can better suit people's habits, indicating the digital yuan's further penetration into people's daily life.

Yu Baicheng, head of Nanjing-based Prime Research Institute, said there is also demand for digital currency deposits and even wealth management products related to the e-CNY. Small and medium-sized commercial banks should improve such services and make more attempts to serve new clients in the emerging areas, he said.

Kong Wenbin, senior analyst for the computer industry at Huaxi Securities, said this year will mark the beginning of large-scale commercialization of the e-CNY. The valuations of the A-share companies engaged in various businesses related to the e-CNY are quite reasonable at present and more investment opportunities may arise in the long run.

On Friday, shares of such companies declined marginally on average, in line with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index that closed 0.32 percent lower.

Analysts from Ping An Securities said hardware companies listed in the A-share market, including those providing smartphones' near field communication or NFC feature and wearables, may benefit in the long term as more devices will be connected to the e-CNY wallets.

Software companies will also ride more business opportunities as financial systems should be upgraded to adapt to the proliferation of the e-CNY, they said.

Yang Zeyuan, chief analyst for the computer industry at CITIC Securities, said the e-CNY is likely to breed more innovative application scenarios as there is no preset technology route for the design of the digital currency. This will likely translate into new business models and market opportunities in the digital yuan sector.

The expected boom will bear testimony to the sustained efforts that have been made in recent times to facilitate the proliferation of the e-CNY, experts said.

The first auto insurance policy paid in the e-CNY was sold on June 10 under the cooperation of China UnionPay Merchant Services, China Construction Bank and Sunshine Insurance Group.

A freight agency in Dalian of Northeast China's Liaoning province paid tariffs with the e-CNY on June 6, the first attempt of its kind in the country.

In late June, China Minsheng Banking Corp became the first commercial bank in the country to allow its corporate customers to pay wages in the e-CNY.

On April 2, the PBOC announced the third group of regions selected to conduct e-CNY trials. These included Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen, and the six cities related to the 19th Asia Games.

The e-CNY application is now promoted in 23 Chinese cities, which represents substantial progress since the low-key launch of trials in April 2020.

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