Local media report that WeChat, China’s leading social networking and payment platform, has integrated the digital currency of the country’s central bank (CBDC) into its payment services. This move was taken to increase the popularity of the digital yuan.
Quick payment feature has been added
WeChat has now integrated the quick payment function of the Yuan digital wallet, making it the 2nd payment app after Alipay to support this function. Users can now use the digital Yuan to pay on specific WeChat mini-programs and other platforms.
The pilot version of the “Wallet Quick Payment Management” page of the digital Yuan application currently lists 94 trading platforms that are accessible, including WeChat. This means that WeChat Pay now enables digital Yuan payments for certain applications, such as ordering food from McDonald’s and paying bills.
Quick payment function still needs to be activated
To activate the WeChat payment wallet’s quick payment feature, users must authorize the Yuan digital wallet operator to sync their mobile phone number associated with WeChat. Once the feature is activated, users will be able to make digital Yuan payments to merchants that support this currency through the WeChat app. Further integrations will gradually become available.
“Chinese consumers are so accustomed to WeChat Pay and Alipay that it is unrealistic to expect them to switch to a new mobile payment app,” said Linghao Bao, an analyst at Trivium China, a strategic consulting firm. “It makes sense for the central bank to partner with WeChat Pay and Alipay rather than working alone.”
The e-CNY, also known as the Digital Yuan, is currently being tested in at least 26 cities and provinces in China. During the 2023 Lunar New Year shopping season, the digital currency saw an increase in transaction volumes on Chinese e-commerce platforms, aided by e-CNY handouts from the authorities.