China’s central bank is planning to test its digital currency on platforms operated by Meituan Dianping, enlisting the food delivery giant backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. in a major step toward the token’s mass adoption. Meituan has been in talks with a research wing of the People’s Bank of China on real-world uses for the virtual legal tender dubbed Digital Currency Electronic Payment or DCEP, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. The specifics of the partnership have yet to be finalized, they added, asking not to be identified revealing private discussions. Meituan joins ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing in exploring applications for a digital yuan, which lives on a mobile wallet application and offers Beijing greater control of the country’s financial system.
Like Didi, Meituan hosts billions of dollars in daily transactions in realms from meal delivery to online travel services, and its participation would drive mass acceptance and widen Beijing’s global lead in government-backed virtual currencies. The central bank research wing is also in discussions on trials with Bilibili Inc., another Tencent-backed company that streams video, one of the people said.
Meituan, which was trading in negative territory in Hong Kong around 11:30 am, spiked after the news and closed 1.8% higher. The PBOC had no immediate comment when contacted. Meituan declined to comment, while representatives for Bilibili didn’t respond to a request for comment.