Here’s a first glimpse of China’s digital yuan

Yuan bank notes.

© Provided by Quartz
Yuan bank notes.

China’s long-anticipated digital yuan has arrived in the wallets of some ordinary citizens.

Beijing began exploring a digital currency in 2014, with the project going into high gear in 2017—the same year the country cracked down on cryptocurrency trading. The digital yuan is very much not a cryptocurrency; like the regular yuan, it is under the control of the People’s Bank of China, and will be rolled out with the help of the country’s largest commercial banks. After conducting small-scale trials earlier this year, China began its largest test yet yesterday, with 200 yuan ($30) worth of the virtual money issued to 50,000 citizens in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen through a lottery.

The pilot comes as the Chinese president Xi Jinping prepares to visit Shenzhen tomorrow (Oct. 14) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the country’s establishment of its first special

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China’s digital yuan tests leap forward in Shenzhen

Shenzhen, known for its maker community and manufacturing resources, is taking the lead in trialing China’s digital yuan.

Last week, the city issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected residents who applied. The government doled out the money through mobile “red envelopes,” a tool designed to digitize the custom of gifting money in red packets and first popularized by WeChat’s e-wallet.

“Red packets are a common way we’ve seen in China Internet companies to spur adoption like what we’ve seen with Tencent WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay in the early days, when these products were first launched,” Flex Yang, CEO of crypto finance firm Babel Finance, told TechCrunch.

The digital yuan is not to be mistaken as a form of cryptocurrency. Rather, it is issued and managed by the central bank, serving as the statutory, digital version of China’s physical currency and giving Beijing a better

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China spent a record 2.2 trillion yuan on R&D in 2019 but needs to do more to escape US tech strangulation

a group of people standing in a room: A promoter dressed to look like an astronaut walks past a robot at the China Beijing International High Tech Expo in Beijing, China on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Photo: AP

© AP
A promoter dressed to look like an astronaut walks past a robot at the China Beijing International High Tech Expo in Beijing, China on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Photo: AP

Whatever the outcome of the upcoming US elections, most analysts agree that the tech rivalry between the US and China is unlikely to let up any time soon and therefore Beijing is expected to keep doubling down on its catch-up efforts.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology last week vowed once again to look carefully at how the work of researchers is evaluated, ensuring that the focus is on research that “achieves real performance” as opposed to simply counting the number of publications.

This is part of Beijing’s wider drive to close a core science gap with the US and reduce its dependence on imported technology. Measures to revise the evaluation of researchers began in 2018 as part

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Sequoia Capital China raising $2.2 billion in new yuan fund, say sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Investor Sequoia Capital China is raising at least 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) in a new yuan-denominated fund, people with knowledge of the matter said, building a war chest as the world’s second-largest economy recovers from a virus-induced slump.

The fund, Sequoia China’s sixth, is likely to be the largest of its kind for the company and is expected to focus on sectors ranging from industrial technology, healthcare and consumer to media, said one of the people.

The early investor in top Chinese technology firms such as Alibaba Group Holding BABA.N reached the first close of the fundraising late last year, according to another person.

The Chinese investment arm of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital looks to fully close the fundraising in the coming weeks and the final fund size would be about 18 billion yuan, said a third person.

The people declined to

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