The digital yuan wallet app has been updated to include a traditional Chinese method of donating money that has gone virtual with the growth of digital payments.
The wallet app for China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yuan, included the ability for users to transmit money in an electronic equivalent of the classic “red packets” in an effort to draw in more users.
The South China Morning Post stated on December 26 that the new feature was released over the weekend, about one month before the Chinese New Year on January 22.
The “red packets,” also known as hongbao in China, are customarily used for giving money as a sign of good fortune during Chinese New Year celebrations and other occasions. Popular local services like WeChat Pay and Alipay now offer virtual red envelopes as a result of the growing use of digital payments.
The e-CNY app reportedly allows a red packet to be sent to just one recipient, or a “lucky draw” can be set up for a group of recipients who will each receive a random sum from a pool of money. WeChat Pay and Alipay reportedly have features that are similar. Users have the option of selecting a packet cover that features happy new year, birthday, and “prosperous China” wishes.
The e-CNY trails will be extended to the cities of Jinan, Nanning, Fangchenggang, and Kunming, according to a Dec. 18 story in the Chinese Workers’ Daily newspaper. Four other provinces, including Guangdong, the most populated, were added to the trials in September.
The most recent reported user base of the e-CNY wallets was in January 2022, with 261 million users having set up a digital wallet, despite the government’s quick expansion of the trials.
China’s government might need to make use of some of the giant payment systems in the country, like WeChat Pay and Alipay to increase the acceptance of its digital yuan.