Shenzhen-based internet giant Tencent is reportedly planning to set up a digital currency research team, an internal notice uncovered Monday evening by local media revealed.

Why it matters: The WeChat operator’s latest move is riding the wave of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone’s recent push for digital currency research.

  • President Xi Jinping’s remarks on the significance of blockchain development in late October spurred much interest from the public as well as tech companies in China.
  • The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, has been ramping up the development and testing of digital fiat currency over the past six months.
  • Chinese tech giants behind the country’s popular fintech platforms, including Tencent, Alibaba, and Ping An, are some of the most active players in blockchain.

Details: The digital currency research team will focus on advancing the digital payments with blockchain technology, Chinese news outlet Beijing Business Today reported on Monday evening,

  • According to Beijing Business Today, an internal notice announced the creation of the new research team and the appointment of a head for the team.
  • The notice also revealed that Tencent’s latest move is a response to Shenzhen’s digital currency-positive sentiment.
  • TechNode reported in August that China included the research and promotion of virtual money as well as the country’s digital fiat currency in the newly released guideline for the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.
  • TechNode reached out to Tencent for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Context: The PBOC has said there is no official time table for its planned digital currency.

  • Earlier this month, local media reported the PBOC will soon start testing the digital currency in major cities.
  • Tencent and its digital banking arm WeBank are active players in  China’s blockchain space. Tencent has been applying blockchain in transportation, gaming, invoicing, and taxation.
  • WeBank is the first technical infrastructure provider for the country’s blockchain service network (BSN), a blockchain infrastructure for a wide range of state-controlled public services across the country.

Nicole Jao

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.

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