Chinese technology giant Tencent is planning to form a research group to study digital currencies, supporting its projects involving blockchain technology. Reported by local media outlet iFeng on Monday, the company released a statement to its employees informing them that it is looking for someone to head the yet to be formed research group.
With the research group, the parent company of the social messaging platform WeChat is aiming to study the digital payment methods to scale up its products in the industry. The group will also be responsible for seeing the implementation of government policies in the new payment methods and evaluate innovative business models for various scenarios.
Established in 1998, Tencent is one of the major conglomerates in China, and most of its subsidiaries are concentrated on internet-based services and products. The company is also investing heavily in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.
Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is also working on the development of its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) to expand the digital use of yuan internationally. Many officials of the central bank already confirmed that though based on decentralized technology, the digital currency will be very centralized and controlled by the bank.
The central bank is planning to test the launch of the currency in two cities – Shenzhen and Suzhou. It will also distribute the first batch of digital currency to a number of financial institutions and technology companies, and Tencent is also on that list along with Alibaba and Union Pay. The stress on blockchain-based services in China has increased after the speech by the country’s president Xi Jinping earlier this year, who boosted the technology and urged the country to capitalise on it.