Blockchain was mentioned in China’s Five-Year Plan for the first time in history, while photo-editing app Meitu invested in cryptocurrencies. The digital yuan got its first domestic blockchain application, and cryptocurrency exchange Huobi nabbed an asset management license in Hong Kong.

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The world of blockchain moves fast, and nowhere does it move faster than China. Here’s what you need to know about China’s block-world in the week of March 2-9.

Blockchain name check

Blockchain and the digital yuan were directly mentioned in a draft of the 14th Five-Year Plan for the first time in history, signaling a turning point in the government’s support for the technologies. The draft plan is unlikely to change substantially, analysts said. (TechNode)

Meitu purchase

Meitu, the company behind one of China’s most popular photo editing apps, bought $22.1 million worth of Ether and $17.9 million of Bitcoin. The company is China’s first major non-cryptocurrency firm to invest in virtual money. Meitu shares rose 14% immediately after the announcement. (Meitu filing)

Digital yuan

  • A Beijing government-backed hardware and software enterprise blockchain, Chang’an Chain, will integrate the digital RMB. It is the first known domestic application of blockchain on the digital yuan. (TechNode)
  • The head of the People’s Bank of China in Guangzhou, Bai Hexiang, called for cross-border payments using China’s central bank-backed digital currency in the Greater Bay Area in order to accelerate the region’s financial development. China’s Greater Bay Area includes Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and Macau. (Mobile Payment Network, in Chinese)

The exchanges

  • Huobi secured a coveted license to manage digital asset portfolios from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, giving hope to other Chinese cryptocurrency companies which have applied for similar license in Hong Kong. (TechNode)
  • In 2020, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong surpassed Zhao Changpeng, CEO and founder of Binance, as the world’s richest blockchain entrepreneur. (Hurun List)

China blockchain paranoia

The founder and president of Chamber of Digital Commerce, Perianne Boring, told Fox Business that China is “years ahead” of the US in blockchain technology and that it will be used to monitor US citizens. “I cannot stress enough how much is at stake for the US right now,” Boring said. (Fox Business)

Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.