China has taken a step further in the development of eRMB by enabling Hong Kong residents in Shenzhen to register and use e-wallets for the digital form of the Chinese currency. Anonymous accounts are available for those without a home return permit.
The Shenzhen municipal government and the Shenzhen branch of People’s Bank of China (PBOC), together with Bank of China and Bank of China (Hong Kong), have jointly rolled out a pilot programme to test the eRMB among Hong Kong residents in Shenzhen for retail payments.
The pilot programme is open to two types of Hong Kong residents – those with Hong Kong Identity Card can apply for anonymous eRMB wallets while those holding a Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macau Residents (home return permit) can register for real-name accounts. A Hong Kong mobile phone number is required for the registration.
The eRMB is China’s version of a central bank digital currency. The PBOC has been running multiple pilot programmes of the eRMB in several cities, including Shenzhen, Beijing and Suzhou, for retail payments.
So far the tests have validated eRMB’s strength in terms of anonymity, security, and convenience, paving the way for its use for cross-border payments. The digital currency is also expected to provide more convenience to Hong Kong residents living and working in Shenzhen, and promote connectivity in the Greater Bay Area.