Hong Kong’s Greater Bay Area: A Test Ground for Digital Yuan

While there is still no specific time table of official road map for the DC/EP project, it has become obvious where the world-leading CBDC initiative will be tested for at least a dry run: the Greater Bay Area.

He Xiaojun, director of the Local Financial Supervision Administration Bureau of Guangdong Province, revealed some details to Southern Daily newspaper: “Guangdong will further encourage innovation, deepen business integration with Hong Kong and Macao in virtual banking and other aspects, breakthrough data barriers, and innovate. The use of digital currency scenarios allows modern financial technology to better serve the construction and development of the entire Greater Bay Area.”

GBA (the region was previously referred to as the Pearl River Delta) includes Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in South China’s Guangdong province — Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, and the whole of Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Being home to 70 million people, it produces a GDP of around $1.5 trillion. The area attracts global attention with large scale projects, aimed to deepen links between financial systems and infrastructure, such as the grandiose 55 kilometre Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge, the longest sea-crossing on earth.

DCEP milestones
The initial digital currency research within the People’s Bank of China dates back to 2015. It took the institution four years to officially announce a roll-out of its own designated CBDC, in August 2019.

In April 2020, after rumours flooded the internet and shook the blockchain community with news of internal testing of DCEP, the PBOC confirmed them, while the Agricultural Bank of China released a mobile test app.

Even though PBOC governor Yi said the central bank does not yet have a timetable for official launch, recent reports confirm that the current tests are aimed at using the digital currency at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.