Business travelers buy tickets with Digital Yuan

A commercial airliner flies behind a Chinese flag fluttering in the wind.
Source: Alexey Novikov/Adobe

Chinese business travelers will be able to buy airline tickets using the digital yuan, when the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot takes off.

for him China Civil Aviation NetworkMerchant banking firm China Merchants Bank has jointly launched an e-CNY platform with the Clearing Center of the Civil Aviation Administration.

The platform will allow companies and entrepreneurs to “use digital [yuan]” to pay for “business air tickets”.

And it will also allow business passengers to use the token to pay for “new services” through the platform.

The travel company Suzhou China Travel Service used the platform to buy tickets on behalf of its customers.

An official launch ceremony for the platform was held this week.

The Civil Aviation Administration and China Merchants Bank said they would follow up by “continuing to provide more efficient and high-quality services to more business travelers.”

And they pledged to “jointly explore the application of the digital yuan” in other sectors of the civil aviation industry.

China’s CBDC: Is the currency taking flight?

The central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has shown interest in expanding the use of the digital yuan in the country’s transportation network.

In 2022, the capital’s Beijing Daxing International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport announced that they were working on a cargo-related digital yuan-driven initiative.

Passengers walk past the counters at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China.
Beijing Capital International Airport (Source: Tyg728/[CC BY-SA-4.0])

Some airports in the pilot zone have also started allowing transit passengers to pay for goods and services using e-CNY.

Rail networks, light rail connections and metro systems throughout the pilot area have been upgraded to accept digital yuan payments without electricity or network.

Bus routes throughout the area have also begun accepting CBDC paying passengers.

Earlier this year, several expressway toll booths around the pilot zone began accepting digital payments in yuan.

This week, the city of Shenzhen claimed that its residents have opened almost 36 million yuan digital wallets so far, with more than 7 million opened since the beginning of the year.

And the city of Changzhou has announced a $700,000 CBDC token and voucher giveaway as Chinese regions try to spur adoption.