$9.5 billion spent using Chinese central bank's digital currency - official

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China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone placed in front of an image of the Chinese flag, in this illustration. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

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HONG KONG, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Some 140 million people had opened "wallets" for China's new digital yuan as of October and used it for transactions totalling around 62 billion yuan ($9.7 billion), a senior Chinese central bank official said on Wednesday.

However, Mu Changchun, the director-general of the digital currency institute of the People's Bank of China, told Hong Kong's "Fintech Week" conference there was no official launch date for the digital currency, also known as the e-CNY.

Central banks around the world are looking at developing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to modernise their financial systems, ward off competition from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and speed up domestic and international payments.

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China's efforts are among the most advanced globally, and the country has been running various trials and pilot schemes of different payment scenarios since last year.

Mu said so far 1.55 million merchants could accept payments using eCNY wallets, including utilities, catering services, transportation, retail and government services.

($1 = 6.3962 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Alun John Editing by Mark Potter

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