Standard Chartered Joins China's Digital Yuan Pilot Project, Eyes International Use

Standard Chartered Bank has unveiled its participation in China's digital yuan, or digital renminbi (RMB), as it gears up for a pilot project starting on November 27.

The bank is set to offer customers services such as digital yuan exchange and redemption, leveraging the digital currency's interconnection platform through City Bank Clearing Services Co., Ltd.

Expressing optimism about the digital yuan's potential, Standard Chartered envisions its application in international merchant payments, trade financing, and supply chain financing. The bank emphasized its previous involvement with the digital yuan, including a proof-of-concept test in September 2022 and collaboration with PwC China, resulting in a report published in May 2023.

Standard Chartered proudly labeled itself as "one of the first foreign banks to participate in the digital [yuan] business pilot." Although based in the U.K., the bank positions itself as an international institution deeply rooted in the Chinese market for over a century. Currently ranking as the 43rd largest bank globally, with assets totaling $819 billion as of 2022.

Acknowledging the digital yuan's status as a central bank digital currency (CBDC), Standard Chartered highlighted its versatility for transactions by both individuals and businesses. The bank also noted China's pioneering role in large-scale CBDC pilot programs, covering 26 pilot areas.

Reports indicate a gradual expansion of China's CBDC program, with digital yuan distributed to the public in February, a province reporting $22 billion in digital yuan payments in March, and WeChat beginning to accept digital yuan payments. In April, government employees in one city started receiving salary payments in the digital yuan. Further integration occurred in May, with the Chinese e-commerce app Meituan accepting the digital yuan, and in July, certain air travel services followed suit. PetroChina made history in October by conducting the first cross-border crude oil trade involving the digital yuan.