China says will launch more digital yuan pilots

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China vowed on Thursday to quicken pilot programmes to develop its digital yuan, as it seeks to boost consumption to shore up economic growth.

China will roll out more pilot schemes and choose cities with vibrant new forms of consumption, with an aim of promoting financial operating efficiency and lowering financial transaction costs, state planner National Development and Reform Commission said on Thursday in a document posted on its website (NDRC).

China has set a modest 2021 economic growth target at above 6%, and pledged to create more jobs in cities than last year, as policymakers plan a careful course out of a year disrupted by COVID-19.

The central bank’s digital currency pilots have so far mainly been run publicly by state-owned banks, instead of privately-owned banks.

China is a front-runner in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies and has held trials in several major cities including Shenzhen, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kim Coghill