This is expected to be the year of the digital currency, with both the Chinese government and Facebook preparing to launch their own versions.
In recent months, China has held a series of trial programmes in cities such as Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an and Chengdu. In pilot tests the Chinese authorities have distributed e-wallets through a lottery, with digital money for citizens to spend.
Last October, 50,000 residents in Shenzhen, a technology centre known as China’s Silicon Valley and home to tech giants such as Huawei, were given a total of 10 million yuan (£1.1 million) to spend in local outlets. In a second round of testing in the city early this year the state issued 20 million yuan (£2.2 million) via an app.