Shanghai, China’s biggest city and its most powerful financial hub, is set to give away digital yuan tokens to 7000,000 of its residents later this week.
Per Yicai, the money – like previous giveaways – will be distributed in digital “red envelopes.” Shanghai residents were asked to register their interest in the giveaway by the end of November 21. A lottery draw will be held in the next few days and tokens will be delivered to “winners” via text message beginning on November 24.
Each envelope will contain the symbolic sum of 108 yuan (around $15).
The central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has tweaked the terms of its giveaway for the latest Shanghai event – in a bid to drive up adoption. Unlike previous giveaway events, Shanghai residents were told to download a compatible digital yuan wallet to their mobile devices in order to be eligible.
The token is still yet to roll out nationwide, and is being piloted in Shanghai, Beijing, and a range of other financial centers in the country.
Unlike events held in conjunction with e-commerce platforms like JD.com, citizens will be free to spend their coins where they like. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers, catering industries, leisure centers, and travel firms are teaming up with the PBoC in its adoption efforts.
International Brands Taking Part in Digital Yuan Giveaway
Several international firms operating in the city will also take part, alongside domestic companies. These include the likes of Disney, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and the supermarket giant Carrefour.
In Chinese culture, eight is considered a lucky figure, and 108 is a sacred number for many Chinese Buddhists. Red, cash-containing envelopes are also symbolic in China – where they are handed out as gifts on special occasions. The color red is considered luck-bestowing in the nation.
Per PBoC data made public earlier this year, digital yuan transactions have already surpassed the $14 billion mark in the pilot zones. The coin can be used to pay public transport fees in some areas.