China’s Ride-Sharing Giant Didi Partners With the PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute

On Wednesday, Didi announced the news that it has partnered up with People’s Bank of China’s Digital Currency Research Institute to test the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP).

The ride-sharing giant stated that it will work with the bank to promote the integration of the digital economy. “DCEP will become a key infrastructure of the digital economy,” says Didi.

The details of the trial are not stated clearly yet but it’s been speculated that it could be one of the first real-world applications of DCEP. Currently, SoftBank and Apple-backed Didi serve over 550 million users. Didi supports Alipay and WeChat Pay on its platform already and also procured China’s Uber business in 2016.

The PBOC has recently started the testing procedure which has been under processing since 2014. The central bank of China has also partnered with 4 commercial banks and 3 telecom companies for the trial.

According to Caixin, a local news outlet of China, large companies like Huawei, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway has provided technical support and assistance for the project. The report also mentions companies including Tik Tok owner ByteDance, Chinese group buying website Meituan-Dianping and many other companies are collaborating for the project with banks like the Agricultural Bank of China, the Industrial Bank of China and the China Construction bank.

While several reports have been surfaced in recent months, the official launch date is yet to be announced.