The move comes as part of a government effort-led to revitalize consumer spending as a zero-COVID policy has devastated the countries’ economic hubs.
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According to local news outlet Shanghai Securities News, the city of Shenzhen will airdrop 30 million digital Chinese yuan (e-CNY) to local residents in an attempt to revitalize consumer spending.
The airdrop is a joint effort between the city of Shenzhen and Meituan Dianping, China’s leading food delivery app. As per instructions, users would need to first login to the Meituan app, sign up for the incentive, and then potentially receive the e-CNY rewards as part of a lottery draw.
If chosen, the e-CNY is then dispensed to users and can be spent at more than 15,000 in-app merchant terminals that accept the state-owned digital currency. Previously, the People’s Bank of China had identified the e-CNY as a potential tool for advancing regional economies and improving the efficiency of select financial services. Meanwhile, sources at Meituan say that the e-CNY plays a vital role in boosting spending and revitalizing local businesses. Shenzhen is also currently one of three cities in China where residents can pay municipal taxes and charges with the e-CNY.
Related: Draft bill to ban China’s digital yuan from US app stores
Unlike many other countries, China has stringently abided by a zero-COVID policy that has seen the repeated lockdown and closure of non-essential businesses in major financial hubs such as Shanghai. Last Wednesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held an emergency meeting with top Communist Party officials to discuss the devastating economic impacts of the country’s COVID policy. Amid economic shortfalls, 20 out of 31 Chinese provinces have issued “consumer spending incentives,” such as the recent e-CNY airdrop, from January to April.