Standard Chartered joins China’s CBDC pilot testing


British multinational bank Standard Chartered will partake in trials of China’s digital yuan central bank digital currency (CBDC), the e-CNY, one of the first foreign banks to do so in the country.

According to the Nov. 27 announcement, Standard Chartered, through its partner City Bank Clearing Services Co, will allow its clients to purchase, exchange and redeem e-CNY within its bank accounts. “As an international bank rooted in the Chinese market for 165 years, Standard Chartered is optimistic about the development prospects of digital Renminbi,” said Xiaolei Zhang, president of Standard Chartered China.

The bank will also join China’s e-CNY CBDC pilot testing program, which is currently ongoing in 26 cities and provinces. Standard Chartered stated that its areas of exploration include cross-border merchant payments, trade financing and supply chain financing.

Last year, Standard Chartered participated in the “Multilateral Central Bank Digital Currency Bridge” proof-of-concept test project in Hong Kong for providing cross-border payment settlement services for retail and enterprise clients. In May 2023, Standard Chartered and PricewaterhouseCoopers China jointly released the report “Central Bank Digital Currency to Create a Future Banking Ecosystem,” discussing the application prospects of CBDCs in the fields of retail, trade and supply chain finance.

On Nov. 25, China’s central bank published a white paper titled “A cross-border e-commerce business-to-business digital renminbi application solution.” The document called for commercial payment processors to integrate the e-CNY CBDC for consumer transactions. Since its inception in 2020, e-CNY transactions have surpassed 1.8 trillion yuan ($253.6 billion), while the number of wallets has surged to 120 million.

Related: What is a CBDC? Why central banks want to get into digital currencies