In October, China’s leader, President Xi Jinping made quite the announcement: in a session with the Chinese Communist Party’s politburo, the leader said that the country should adopt blockchain “as an important breakthrough for independent innovation of core technologies.”
State-run outlet Xinhua revealed that Xi lauded the potential benefits of blockchain technologies in a swath of industries, including finance, education, health care, food security, and more.
Since this surprising comment, Chinese corporations and individuals alike have sprung into action, doing their utmost best to adopt this technological class as fast as possible.
On January 6th, Baidu — a Chinese technology and internet giant most often called “China’s Google” here in the West — unveiled its latest project: “Xuperchain,” a blockchain system for businesses, now going into beta.
According to the translated version of a flashy new website outlining this new offering, this now-in-beta network will allow users, preferably operators of smaller businesses, to build and deploy blockchain applications to help bolster their businesses.
Baidu said that the cost for this Xuperchain service can be as low as 1 yuan (or around $0.15) for the first few months.
Notably, Xuperchain was not launched just now; the project has purportedly already been used by over 3 million individuals and has processed 450 million transactions. But, this is the first time that effectively anyone in China can access to this platform.
The Chinese company claims that it has partnered with the Beijing Internet Court, Renmin University of China, Tsinghua University, aiBank, TGood, and other notable Chinese entities to launch this project.
Not Only Chinese Corporation Going Blockchain
Baidu isn’t the only massive Chinese corporation that has started to dabble in blockchain as of late.
One of the region’s largest financial institutions, the state-owned Bank of China has used blockchain to issue bonds. According to an article from Chinese business news site Sina Finance, the Bank recently completed the issuance of a 20 billion yuan (just around $2.8 billion U.S. dollars) worth of small enterprise and micro-enterprise bonds via blockchain.
Also, per previous reports from this very outlet, ByteDance, the Chinese technology company behind controversial social media app TikTok, is venturing into blockchain alongside an entity affiliated with the Chinese government.
Bloomberg reports that the technology company obtained partial ownership in a new company focusing on blockchain and artificial intelligence development.
The National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System, an official business registration website, suggests that ByteDance owns 49% of the new firm through a 10 million yuan investment. The rest of the new venture is owned by Shanghai Dongfang Newspaper, a state-owned Chinese media company that publishes a popular digital news outlet in China.
China’s National Crypto Nears
It isn’t clear of Chinese authorities intend to connect all these networks, though it seems that the nation’s blockchain ambitions are coming to a head in the form of the nation’s digital currency project.
Further details were rather scant, though this comes hot on the heels of a report that Mu Changchun, the official in charge of the development of China’s crypto asset, said the “top-level design, formulation, functional research, and testing” has been completed.
The PBOC is expected to soon roll out a pilot project in the cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou, the former of which being China’s iteration of Silicon Valley. There will be a first small-scale phase, which is purportedly slated to begin in the coming weeks, and a second, during which the digital currency will be widely promoted in the two aforementioned cities sometime in 2020.