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By Ding Yi / Apr 29, 2020 01:10 PM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Artificial intelligence specialist SenseTime and the Chinese central bank’s digital currency unit will work together to broaden AI applications in the financial industry, SenseTime said Monday, as rumors swirl about a pilot program for an electronic yuan.

The agreement between Hong Kong-headquartered SenseTime and the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which oversees the development of the country’s sovereign digital currency, sets a target of “enhancing financial institutions’ capabilities in risk control and operations,” according to a statement. No further details were given.

The tie-up comes days after the state-backed newspaper Securities Times reported that a group of retail and catering companies including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway will take part in the PBOC’s test of a sovereign digital currency in Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone situated in northern China’s Hebei province.

Earlier this month, Chinese authorities established a new committee tasked with drawing up national standards for blockchain and distributed accounting technology, with members coming from the PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute, universities, and tech giants including Huawei, Baidu and Tencent. Blockchain is one of the key technologies needed for the development of digital currencies.

The PBOC says it has no timetable for the issuance of the sovereign digital yuan, officially known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (

Related: Japan’s Finance Minister Expresses Concerns Over China’s Digital Yuan

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