China aims to increase adoption of digital yuan through hard wallets, with a focus on elderly and children.

A Chinese city called Changsha in Hunan Province has announced that it is introducing digital yuan “hard wallets” offline, which are designed specifically for “elderly citizens and children” in order to encourage adoption of the CBDC.

The adoption of the CBDC could be hindered by the prevalence of individuals who do not own smartphones, according to some banks. Although smartphone ownership is high in urban areas, it is much lower in rural China. However, Chinese cities and state-run commercial banks have been developing and distributing “hard” offline wallets to overcome this issue.

The authorities in Changsha have stated that Integrated Circuit (IC) cards, some 2G phones, wearable devices, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices can also be used as hard wallets. These wallets can update balances automatically when users come into contact with internet-enabled devices.

Changsha and state-run banks are attempting to encourage adoption in nearby villages under the city’s governance, and have rolled out a hard wallet specifically for the residents of Guangming village. The wallet is “anonymous at the time of issuance”, but is “password-enabled” and has a “unique hard wallet number and stores digital yuan certificates” on a password-protected “security chip”.

An official from the Hunan Province Branch of the China Construction Bank has said that these hard wallets let their users make payments of up to $700, but are primarily designed to allow “villagers” to make password-free “micropayments”. The “password-free limit for a single transaction is [around $70]”, the official explained.

Inclusivity Focus? China’s Digital Yuan Adoption Plans

A 60-year-old villager from Guangming surnamed Huang has said that he has never used a smartphone or made electronic payments, but has successfully applied for a digital yuan hard wallet at an event held in the village. After this, he was able to use the wallet to pay for goods at a local store, which was offering discounts for customers paying with the digital yuan.

The city has pledged that as the pilot progresses, “innovative application scenarios will become more abundant” in Changsha and the surrounding region.

Last week, Chinese charities said they had begun to accept digital yuan donations from businesses and individuals. The welfare administrator of Jiangsu Province said it had opened an “online corporate and personal digital yuan donations platform.” IT firms have also reportedly received bank loans via digital yuan wallet transfer.

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