A factory worker in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. Photo: Xinhua

The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has launched a pilot program that will deliver transportation subsidies in digital currency to government officials and state-owned-enterprise employees in Suzhou.

From this month, people who work for the government and state-owned-enterprises in Xiangcheng district in Suzhou are urged to install an Alipay e-wallet in their mobile devices. They can start receiving 50% of their transportation subsidies through their e-wallets from May.

It was the first application of digital currency electronic payment (DC/EP) launched by the PBoC and will be implemented in Shenzhen, Xiong’an and Chengdu very soon under a partnership between the central bank and the big four state-owned banks, Chinastarmarket.cn reported. 

The use of digital currency can help the supervisory body to monitor the financial transactions among commercial banks and individuals and improve risk management, according to the report. Crimes such as financial fraud, misuse of public funds and theft can also be traced. 

Alipay, an online payment platform owned by the Alibaba Group, said in several announcements between February 21 and March 17 that it had registered five patents related to digital currency. Alipay said in February that it would participate in the PBoC’s issuance of digital currency. 

Monetary stimuli

The PBoC said in a statement on Thursday that it will continue to channel credit funds into the real economy, especially small businesses, through measures such as targeted reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cuts and refinancing.

With a variety of policy tools, the central bank has enhanced financial countercyclical regulation and control to provide more credit support for the real economy.

In the first quarter, new yuan-denominated loans hit 7.1 trillion yuan (US$1 trillion), the highest quarterly level in history. Along with the growing credit supply, the credit structure has been optimized and credit support is becoming more targeted and effective, the central bank said.

The balance of loans for small and micro firms stood at 12.4 trillion yuan at the end of March, up 23.6% year on year. The growth rate not only reversed the decline in January and February, but also rose 4.5 percentage points over the same period last year.

Canton Fair 

The 127th session of the China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, will be held online from June 15 to 24, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The online session of the fair is an innovation to cushion the impact of Covid-19 and ensure the stability of foreign trade and investment, which will better play the fair’s role as an all-round opening-up platform, said the ministry.

The ministry will attach equal importance to import and export, promote the matching of production, supply and sales, enhance online experiences of enterprises and merchants with higher technology levels and better services to make the online session a success, the official said.

The 126th autumn session of the biannual event received 186,015 participants from 214 countries and regions, and the export turnover reached 207.1 billion yuan.

Consumption coupons

The Wuhan municipal government will deliver consumption coupons worth 500 million yuan in total to local residents between April 19 and July 31, the Securities Times reported.

The coupons are aimed at supporting the food and beverage, retail, cultural and tourism sectors in Wuhan. Underprivileged people will receive coupons worth about 18 million yuan. 

Company news

Tesla Inc, an American electric vehicle maker, said it had opened its first official flagship store on Tmall.com, which is operated by Alibaba Group.

The company said the latest move was one of its milestones in China, following its plan to build a mega-factory in Shanghai and launch the Model 3 in the country. Tesla added that it would provide after-sales service and parts, but not selling automobiles, on Tmall. 

PetroChina Co Ltd, China’s largest oil and gas producer, said its new production line in northeast China’s Liaoning province has started to produce melt-blown non-woven fabric, a raw material for medical masks, with annual capacity of 500 tonnes. Another production line with the same annual capacity is under construction.

Last month Sinopec, a Chinese oil refinery company, said all its 16 melt-blown non-woven fabric production lines in China would commence production by the end of May with an annual capacity of more than 10,000 tonnes. Each tonne of raw material is enough to make one million medical masks. 

The story was written by Xu Jiangshan and first published at ATimesCN.com. It was translated into English by Nadeem Xu.