TOKYO – China wasn’t a big talking point on Tuesday (February 1) when Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced plans for a digital rupee.

But the huge head-start enjoyed by Asia’s No 1 economy is written between the lines in bold font as the region’s No 3 financial power jumps on the e-currency bandwagon.

The same week New Delhi shared plans for a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, Beijing was gearing up for its biggest trial yet at the Winter Olympics, which start on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is joining the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in part because the trajectory of global money demands it. The Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan and Bank of England are also pivoting toward digital currency units.