Standard Chartered to offer support for China’s digital yuan

Standard Chartered Bank has announced its upcoming participation in China’s digital yuan, also known as digital renminbi (RMB), with the pilot project set to commence on Nov. 27.

The bank said it will provide customers with digital yuan exchange, redemption, and other services. Additionally, the bank indicated it would access the digital currency’s interconnection platform via City Bank Clearing Services Co., Ltd.

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Standard Chartered said it is “optimistic” about the digital yuan and its potential use in international merchant payments, trade financing, and supply chain financing.

The bank also highlighted its previous involvement with the digital yuan, which includes a proof-of-concept test conducted in September 2022 and a collaborative report with PwC China published in May 2023.

Standard Chartered called itself “one of the first foreign banks to participate in the digital [yuan] business pilot.” The company is based in the U.K. but does not operate in the country; it describes itself as an international bank that has been rooted in the Chinese market for over a century. Standard Chartered is currently the 43rd largest bank in the world, with assets totaling $819 billion as of 2022.

China’s CBDC program expanding gradually

Standard Chartered acknowledged the digital yuan’s status as a central bank digital currency (CBDC), noting that these forms of money can be used in transactions by individuals and businesses alike. It added that China was one of the first countries to carry out a large-scale pilot and said the program covers 26 pilot areas.

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Other reports regarding China’s CBDC suggest gradually expanding availability. In February, China distributed millions of dollars of digital yuan to the public. In March, one province reported $22 billion in digital yuan payments, while the popular social media app WeChat began to accept payments. In April, reports indicated that one city’s government employees would receive salary payments in the digital yuan.

In May, the Chinese e-commerce app Meituan integrated the asset, and in July, certain air travel services began to accept the digital yuan. PetroChina carried out the first cross-border crude oil trade involving the asset in October.

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