An affiliate of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba has claimed that it will allow customers to pay with the digital yuan on its Taobao e-commerce platform, in addition to the market-leading Alipay e-payments platform.
Per Sina Technology, the announcement was made by Li Chen, Chief Compliance Officer of the Ant Group – Alibaba’s fintech arm. Ant operates Alipay and Alibaba’s online banking arms. Li Chen was quoted as telling attendees at a digital trade forum in Zhejiang:
“Alipay has joined the digital yuan acceptance network. It is the first payment platform to support the digital yuan.”
Li Chen added that a digital yuan wallet “fast payment function” had been launched in Taobao – allowing customers to use digital yuan holdings at checkout.
The official added that a slew of digital yuan-related services would be “launched in batches” in the weeks and months ahead.
The new Alipay link means that digital yuan holders in the pilot zone can also use their coins to pay for goods and services on Alibaba subsidiaries, such as Tmall-Mart, the tech giant’s “smart” online supermarket, the Hema chain of grocery stores, and its Ele.me food delivery network.
The media outlet added that Alipay and Taobao app users could get started with digital CNY pay right away – by simply updating their apps. At checkout, they can find prompts that lead them to digital yuan wallet payment options.
Alipay officials also added that users could search for a new “paying with the digital yuan” section in the Alipay app to “learn how to use” the coin.
Why Does it Matter if Alipay & Taotao Embrace the Digital Yuan?
Taobao is China’s answer to Amazon and is arguably its most popular e-commerce website, alongside JD.com. The latter has been exceptionally active in the digital CNY sphere, and has pioneered a range of giveaways in pilot zone areas.
Alipay and its closest rival WeChat Pay have dominated the Chinese e-payments market in recent years – and have cornered some 15% of the total national payments market. WeChat Pay is the brainchild of the tech titan Tencent.
The government has repeatedly claimed that the digital yuan is not being positioned as an Alipay/WeChat Pay rival, although some believe that Beijing is planning to break up the tech giants’ duopoly.
WeChat Pay added digital yuan interoperability functions earlier this year.
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