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The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) could use Meituan Dianping’s 435 million user food delivery platform to conduct real-world tests of its digital yuan, Bloomberg reported on 15 July.

Citing people with “direct knowledge of the matter”, the publication revealed that the Beijing-based food delivery firm has been in talks with the Digital Currency Research Institute, the research wing of the PBoC, over trialing its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), also known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DC/EP). The sources further said that the two entities are yet to finalize the specifics of the new partnership.

Meituan Dianping’s platform could provide a huge opportunity for the mass adoption of the DC/EP, considering it is one of the largest food delivery platform in the world, with more than 435 million active users. The firm is also backed by internet giant Tencent, which had a 20% equity stake in it before the 2018 initial public offering.

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Tencent is on the path to becoming one of the primary commercial issuers of the digital yuan once it’s released, as this is not the first Tencent-backed firm to hold talks with the PBoC. The Wednesday article further revealed that video streaming platform Bilibili, which is backed by Tencent, is also discussing the possibility of testing the PBoC’s digital yuan.

The PBoC’s list of platforms that will test the real-world use cases of the digital yuan also include ride-hailing application DiDi, which is another Tencent-backed firm. The Chinese equivalent to Uber revealed its “strategic partnership” with the PBoC last week, when it vowed to implement a pilot program for the DC/EP on its large-scale transportation network.

Although the PBoC has clarified that there is no specific launch date for its digital yuan, it has increased its efforts to explore the real-world use cases of the DC/EP. The bank has already claimed that the “top-level” design of the digital yuan has been completed, and that pilot tests were already beeing conducted in the cities of Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan, Chengdu and the future site of the winter Olympics.

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