Ant Financial online offshoot, MYbank to join digital yuan app

Ant-backed MYbank will join China’s digital yuan trial. MYbank’s service will soon be introduced to the People’s Bank of China’s digital yuan app, people who are familiar with development said, requesting not to be identified because the matter is private, Bloomberg reports.

Tencent-backed WeBank will also participate, one of the people said. The e-wallets from the two firms will have exactly the same functions as those from the six state-owned lenders in the trial, said the person.

Adding the two banks to the pilot will help China’s central bank expand its influence and user coverage in its push to establish the first digital national currency from a major central bank. When the People’s Bank of China first announced its plans, it was viewed by some as a government move to reclaim the 293 trillion yuan (US$45 trillion) payments industry from to Ant Group Co.’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’s WeChat Pay.

As one of the parties participating in the research and development of PRC’s e-CNY, MYbank will “steadily advance the trial pursuant to the overall arrangement of the People’s Bank of China,” the company said in an emailed response without elaborating. WeBank declined to comment in an emailed statement. The PBOC did not immediately respond to a fax seeking comment.

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