Shenzhen will issue 10 million yuan (US$1.47 million) worth of digital currency in a pilot program to promote the application of the new form of currency.
The program, in collaboration with the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, will issue the currency in 50,000 “red envelopes” worth 200 yuan each via a random draw.
The winners will be notified today and can download an app to receive their red envelopes.
The money can be used for shopping in designated businesses in Luohu District, which funded the program.
The program is an innovative move to spur consumption and domestic demand during the regular control and prevention of COVID-19, and a routine test in the currency’s research and development process, according to local authorities.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said in August that China will pilot the digital renminbi in select regions across the country, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and some eligible locations in midwestern China.
China’s central bank began research on a digital currency in 2014. It started R&D on “digital currency and electronic payment,” or DC/EP, at the end of 2017.