China’s central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has claimed over 261m users in the nation activated digital yuan wallets by the end of last year – in addition to the 20 million-plus who have downloaded its official pilot app, which was released to marketplaces in some cities earlier this month.

In addition to the PBoC’s app, some nine commercial banks, some state-owned and other private financial entities owned by the likes of Tencent’s WeChat Pay and the e-commerce giant Alibaba, currently offer digital yuan wallets – although only people located in the pilot zones can access them.

The pilot zones include economic and tech powerhouse cities such as Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Chengdu, as well as parts of the capital Beijing.

The PBoC made the announcement at a press conference chaired by Zou Lan, its director of financial markets, reported Xinmin.

Zou Lan explained that over 8m merchants had already adopted digital yuan payment capabilities by the end of December last year. The token, also known as the e-CNY, was used in transactions worth a total of USD 13.8bn.