China’s central bank inks deal with Huawei on fintech research

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has signed a new partnership agreement with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, focused on financial technology research, the company announced on Monday.

Why it matters: Fintech is considered a key development for the country’s financial sector to become internationally competitive. The central bank has been accelerating its digital currency research, which is said to have been in the works for five years.

  • Huawei is one of the first major tech companies with which the Digital Currency Research Institute has publicly announced a partnership.

Details: Fan Yifei, the PBOC’s deputy governor, was in attendance at the signing ceremony that took place Monday afternoon during his visit to Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen.

  • The company did not reveal specifics of the agreement including whether it is related to the development of China’s much-anticipated digital fiat currency.
  • On the same day, Huawei also signed a strategic partnership with the China National Clearing Center, a PBOC subsidiary.
  • Fan attended the China Financial Forum in the morning where Huawei’s president of its cloud & AI products and services business, Hou Jinlong, gave a speech about the development of cutting-edge technologies laying the groundwork for digital finance.
  • Huawei did not immediately respond to a TechNode request for comment on Tuesday.

Context: The central bank’s Digital Currency Research Institute was set up at the end of 2016 to focus on research in blockchain and . The Institute is headed by Mu Changchun, who has been a strong proponent of the digital fiat currency.

  • Huawei is an active investor in blockchain and has been exploring applications in areas including finance, public services, and transportation. The company filed a patent application last month for blockchain-based payment settlement.
  • The company’s CEO Ren Zhengfei previously remarked that China has the capability to develop a digital currency that can compete with Libra, Facebook’s stablecoin project.
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