SHANGHAI: China's financial hub Shanghai will hold a lottery over the weekend giving residents the chance to win electronic "red packets" worth nearly 20 million yuan (US$3 million) combined, as the country accelerates its testing of the digital yuan.
Shanghai's announcement that it will distribute 350,000 red packets each containing 55 yuan worth of digital currency, or e-cny, comes days after Beijing unveiled plans for a similar campaign.
Giving gifts of cash in small red envelopes known as "red packets" is common in China.
China is a front-runner in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and has launched trials in a number of cities such as Shenzhen and Chengdu.
The digital yuan, issued by the People's Bank of China (PBOC), would help Beijing enhance surveillance of the economy, strengthen data control, and potentially improve the yuan's global status, analysts say.
The draw for the e-cny red packets will start on Saturday and end on Sunday, and anyone in Shanghai can apply to participate, the Shanghai government said in an announcement via its official Wechat account.
Winners of the gifts can use the windfall cash from June 11 to June 20 in Shanghai and other cities running digital yuan trials such as neighbouring Suzhou, the city's government said.
Consumers can already use e-cny at shops, malls, supermarkets, restaurants and hotels in several major shopping districts in Shanghai.
(US$1 = 6.4057 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Hugh Lawson)