The digital currency research unit of the Chinese central bank has entered a cooperative partnership with Jack Ma’s fintech platform Ant Group for the development of technology in relation to the Digital Renminbi, despite the latter coming under heavy pressure from regulators following the shelving of its IPO scheduled for November last year.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Digital Currency Research Institute has executed a strategic cooperative Agreement with Ant Group, according to a 25 April report from National Business Daily.
Under the Agreement both parties will develop a Digital Renminbi tech platform based on OceanBase – Alibaba’s independently developed distributed database, and Alibaba Cloud’s Mobile Platform as a Service (mPaaS).
In 2019 the Digital Currency Research Institute gradually began to incorporate both OceanBase and mPaaS into its development of the technology for the Digital Renminbi, while Ant Group has also participated early stage testing of the Digital Renminbi.
Official testing of the Digital Renminbi first kicked off on April 2020, at a small cohort of cities around China including Chengdu, Shenzhen, Suzhou and the Xiong’an New District.
The striking up of the cooperative deal comes during a fraught period for Ant, with reports circulating that Beijing has just launched an investigation into why financial authorities approved Ant’s IPO with unusual haste last year, just prior to a last minute shelving of its listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai bourses that was originally scheduled for 5 November.
Chinese authorities subsequently summoned Ant for multiple disciplinary “regulatory discussions,” requiring that it return to its original focus on payments sector and convert into a financial holding company. Other reports indicate that authorities have also required that Jack Ma withdraw completely from involvement with Ant.