china digital currency institute to hire tech lead as e-cny trial expands

The digital currency institute under the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is speeding up the recruitment of tech talent, including a technology director, as it accelerates trials of the e-CNY.

The technology director will be responsible for overseeing the technical direction and big-picture planning of China’s digital currency, optimising and regulating the research and development process, and leading the team to make breakthroughs on technical barriers, according to the job description.

The right candidate will be offered a monthly salary of between 80,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan, according to an advertisement on the hiring website Boss Zhipin.

The central bank’s digital arm kicked off a hiring spree earlier this year, the Post had reported, opening hundreds of positions, most of them related to technological development, such as data engineering.

The move comes as PBOC aims to extend the trial of the sovereign digital currency to a number of Chinese cities, including Chongqing, Tianjin, Hangzhou and Guangzhou. Other cities such as Shenzhen and Suzhou have already been involved since late 2019. Trials are also taking place in Beijing, Xiongan, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xian, Qingdao and Dalian.

As part of the latest expansion, this week the Futian district in Shenzhen will distribute e-CNY through WeChat, Tencent’s popular super app. Residents can register through a mini-program on the app to join a lottery for four different types of red packets, which contain 68 yuan, 98 yuan, 128 yuan or 168 yuan. A total of 130,000 red packets, worth 15 million yuan, will be issued, according to an official notice on Monday.

In 2014, the central bank established a team to conduct digital currency research, which has since collaborated with large commercial banks, telecoms operators, and internet companies, in e-CNY development, according to the PBOC’s white paper published last July.

Big Tech companies, such as Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings, JD.com and Meituan, all took part in the programme. Alibaba is the owner of the South China Morning Post.

As of last June, the central bank said it had tested more than 1.32 million pilot scenarios, covering utility payments, catering services, transport, shopping consumption, and government services, the white paper said.

The official digital yuan app had 261 million unique users at the end of last year, nearly twice of what it had in October, before the app was released on app stores in January, according to a central bank official.

Hong Kong plans to soon roll out a pilot scheme for the use of the digital yuan for shopping and dining, making the special administrative region the first offshore city to use the e-CNY outside the mainland, Eddie Yue Wai-man, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority – the city’s de facto central bank – said last month.

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