China’s sovereign digital currency , known as e-CNY, is on track to achieve greater exposure in more cities across the mainland, as leading domestic mobile payments providers Alipay and WeChat Pay install new features to support its wider roll-out. Alipay, operated by financial technology giant Ant Group , announced on Thursday that its app has added a button that enables users to search for and download the official e-CNY wallet within its platform. By opening an account using the same phone number associated with Alipay, users can make purchases with e-CNY on the app. It also said that nearly 6 million digital yuan wallets have been “pushed” to merchants on Alipay’s platform, a process that enables a new e-CNY user to initiate that payment option. Alipay, which has about 900 million users, activated the payment option last year. Ant is the fintech affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding , which owns the South China Morning Post. WeChat Pay, operated by Tencent Holdings , last month set up a similar e-CNY wallet function on its app, about three months after it adopted digital yuan as a payment option. The mobile payments platform, part of multipurpose super app WeChat , had about 900 million users at the end of December. Alipay and WeChat Pay’s moves reflect Big Tech companies’ commitment to help promote the country’s digital fiat money. In January, on-demand services provider Meituan allowed more than 200 types of offline merchants, including restaurants, grocery stores and hotels, to accept e-CNY payments . E-commerce giant JD.com earlier made e-CNY payment an option for purchases made on its platform. That support has helped the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) broaden sovereign digital currency adoption ahead of other major central banks, such as the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan. China became the first major economy to explore its own central bank digital currency in 2014, but the government has yet to provide its timetable for a nationwide launch. There were 261 million e-CNY users at the end of 2021, nearly double the number recorded last October, according to the latest data from the PBOC. The digital yuan has been available for use in about 20 mainland cities designated for e-CNY trials. China rolls out e-CNY in Hangzhou, Chongqing in push to go cashless China will expand the trial of its sovereign digital currency to more cities including Chongqing , Tianjin , Hangzhou and Guangzhou , as potential incentives are drawn up for banks, technology firms and local authorities that take part in the e-CNY roll-out, according to a statement published by the PBOC on April 2. Trials have already been taking place in Beijing , Shanghai , Chengdu , Xiongan, Hainan, Changsha, Xian , Qingdao and Dalian. Other cities such as Shenzhen and Suzhou have been involved with e-CNY promotion since late 2019. Authorities in cities designated for e-CNY trials have extended support to the digital yuan by developing new infrastructure to push its wider adoption. An industrial estate in a suburb of Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang province, has teamed up with the Bank of China , one of the e-CNY’s major banking partners, to facilitate use of digital yuan for employee wages, parking fees and payment for dining within the site, according to a report by local newspaper Hangzhou Daily on Friday. Tech director wanted for China’s digital currency project Other recent e-CNY use cases include payment for toll fees at all expressways in southeastern Fujian province and for settling car repair changes in Chongqing in southwest China. China’s sovereign digital currency roll-out, however, has raised suspicion about Beijing’s intent. Robert Greene, a former senior adviser to the US Department of Treasury, published an article last July that said one potential function of the e-CNY was to skirt US financial sanctions. Meanwhile, Hong Kong plans to soon roll out a pilot scheme to use the e-CNY in the city, making the special administrative region the first offshore city to use the digital currency outside mainland China, Eddie Yue Wai-man, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority , said in February during a regular monthly financial affairs panel meeting of the city’s Legislative Council .