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China's digital yuan wallet downloaded by 261m individuals

China's digital yuan wallet downloaded by 261m individuals

China's digital yuan wallet has been downloaded by 261 million people - about a fifth of the country's population - and been used for transactions worth 87.5 billion yuan ($13.8 billion).

In development since 2014, the e-CNY wallet underwent extensive field testing across the country before making its way to the iOS and Android stores at the beginning of this year.

Although still in pilot phase, take-up has accelerated in recent months, Zou Lan, head of financial markets at the People’s Bank of China said at a recent press event, according to local reports.

The wallet is now starting to catch up with China's dominant commercial payment apps from Ant Group and Tencent, which together account for around 94% of the digital payments marketplace.

According to Morning Consult, these apps are not only ubiquitous, they are also well-liked, with 83% of Chinese adults having at least a somewhat favourable opinion of them.

Currently only 60% of those surveyed by Morning Consult also regard the e-CNY favourably, although more than a third had not heard of or had no opinion about it.

More than a quarter of those surveyed say they don't use the e-CNY app because they don't need it, while 17% say they prefer using an alternative. However, 26% say they don’t use it because they don’t know how, and 13% cite technical barriers like not residing in a pilot city (nine per cent) or not having a smartphone that supports the app (four per cent).

Of those that do use the e-CNY wallet, 72% say they use it for online shopping and 67% for paying for public services such as transportation.

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