China’s pilot zones set for ‘innovative application of blockchain’

China pilot zones blockchain
A general view shows traffic during evening rush hour at the central business district (CBD) in Beijing, China, January 15, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has selected 15 pilot zones and identified several areas of application to “carry out the innovative application of blockchain” technology, according to a joint government statement on Sunday.

The pilot zones include areas in China’s major cities of Beijing and Shanghai and Guangzhou and Chengdu in the southern Guangdong and Sichuan provinces, respectively, according to a statement on the Cyberspace Administration’s official WeChat social media account.

Apart from the pilot zones, 164 entities, including hospitals, universities and companies such as SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., China National Offshore Oil Corp, Beijing Gas Group Co. and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd were selected to carry out blockchain pilot projects.

The entities will conduct the projects in fields such as manufacturing, energy, government and tax services, law, education, health, trade and finance, and cross border finance.

“Each area’s cyberspace administration and relevant industry regulator should… Give full play to the role of blockchain in promoting data sharing, optimising business processes, reducing operating costs and improving collaboration efficiency in building a credible system,” the statement said.

In October 2019, China president Xi Jinping said the country should accelerate the development of blockchain technology as the core for innovation.

Although China is promoting blockchain technology, it has banned bitcoin, which is based on the technology. Regulators in September cracked down on cryptocurrencies with a blanket ban on all crypto transactions and mining.

According to the cyberspace administration statement, the statement was jointly issued by 16 governmental bodies, including the ministry of education, ministry of industry and information technology, the central bank, the National Energy Administration and China Securities Regulatory Commission.

(Reporting by Emily Chow. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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