China's digital yuan could be used by international visitors at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

China's digital yuan could be used by international visitors at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
A consumer uses a digital yuan red envelope in a mobile phone to buy goods at a digital yuan cashier's deskCostfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
  • International athletes and supporters could test China's digital currency at the 2022 Winter Olympics, according to central bank vice governor Li Bo.
  • This would be the first time overseas visitors would be able to use the currency.
  • The digital yuan will also trial in more Chinese cities, it is designed for domestic use and does not aim to replace leading global currencies, Li said.
China's digital yuan could be used by international athletes and other visitors of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

"For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, we were trying to make e-CNY available not only to domestic users, but also to international athletes and like visitors," Li Bo, the Chinese central bank vice governor said on Sunday at the Boao Forum, an APAC-focused finance and business summit.

This would be the first time international visitors to China could use the digital currency, which is currently being trialed domestically in various Chinese cities.

The central bank will expand these trials and use the results to inform the further development of its digital currencies and associated infrastructure, Li said. So far, there are no concrete plans for nationwide adoption of the digital yuan as it is still in early testing stages, he said.

China is widely recognised as one of the leaders in the development of a central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC) and has been developing the digital yuan since 2014. It is the first major economy to trial such a project. So far, only smaller nations including the Bahamas have launched digital currencies.


Major central banks including the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve are working on creating digital versions of their respective currencies, but have not yet started trials.

Central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, aim to reduce the amount of cash payments, make the payments system more accessible and reliable and ease international transactions.

Concerns have arisen about China's use of a central bank digital currency and what this might mean for the country's position in the global financial system.

"For the internationalization of renminbi, we have said many times that it's a natural process and our goal is not to replace (the) US dollar or any other international currency," Li said on Sunday.

The market would be responsible for the impact on global investment and trade.

According to Li, the digital yuan is primarily focused on domestic use at the moment and the central bank's priority is to establish a sustainable and reliable infrastructure locally, before allowing it to trade more globally.

Li also said that the Chinese central bank was collaborating with potential partners to find cross-border solutions for trading and transactions. Thailand, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates are involved in this.