China’s major social networking and payment app WeChat has followed Alipay in adding support for payments using the digital yuan – the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC)
As reported by local media, the popular Chinese payment and messaging platform WeChat has created another use case for the country’s CBDC, adding a digital yuan wallet as a fast payment option.
As soon as users authorise the CBDC wallet operator to sync with their WeChat-bound mobile phone number, they can activate the fast payment function. It will allow them to make payments to digital yuan-supporting merchants directly through the WeChat app.
WeChat Pay currently allows digital yuan payments on a limited number of apps. However, you can already try the feature to order food from McDonald’s or pay bills. Digital yuan now also works for payments on certain WeChat mini-programs. More integrations are expected to be added gradually.
Previously, Alipay has become the first major payment platform to add support for the national CBDC. These integrations are supposed to broaden the appeal and convenience of using the digital yuan. Chinese CBDC was first added as a payment method for e-commerce shopping by the JD.com platform in 2020.
In 2022, the volume of transactions using China’s digital yuan surpassed 100 billion yuan ($13.9 billion). According to the latest data from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), released on January 10, there were 13.61 billion digital yuan ($2 billion) in circulation in the country by the end of 2022. The central bank also noted that the CBDC experienced a growth spike of 15.3% in December, as the population is increasingly adopting the national CBDC.
However, it felt unnatural to the country’s citizens to switch to a new mobile payment app designed specifically for the digital yuan, as they are satisfied with the multi-functional WeChat and Alipay. Thus, the government logically decided to cooperate with the national payment providers instead of competing with them.