To get permission to leave China's coronavirus epicenter and return to his job in Hong Kong, a Chinese banker needed two things: a letter from his company and a green health code from an Alibaba app. The man, who gave his name only as Clarence because of privacy concerns, secured the necessary permission last week and boarded a high-speed train to the border city of Shenzhen. "It was like the drama'Prison Break.' There are so many levels to go through and so many barriers to overcome," he said of the challenges of leaving Hubei province. Alipay by Ant Financial, the finance affiliate controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Jack Ma, and Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeChat are credited with helping curb COVID-19 since it erupted in Wuhan in January.
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) intends to start experimenting with digital versions of the Japanese Yen to test the feasibility of virtual currencies. As reported by Coin Telegraph, the bank issued a report on Thursday -- "Technical Hurdles for CBDC" -- that noted upcoming experiments with a central bank digital currency (CBDC) could provide an alternative to the traditional Yen. The bank has no plans -- as of yet -- to issue a digital currency, but says the organization is willing to explore the concept due to the increased use of digital payments, potentially adopted at a higher rate than expected due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the shift by many vendors to contactless or card-based transactions. See also: Executive dies, taking investor cryptocurrency with him. The BoJ wants to research two specific areas which the financial institution believes are the main hurdles to adopting digital currency: resilience and access.
The Food and Drug Administration of the Chinese Chongqing Yuzhong District is going to apply blockchain technology to its operations, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, The People's Daily, reports on Jan. 31. Blockchain will purportedly be applied by the agency to strengthen the supervision of food and drug quality assurance with better traceability of the product life cycle and anti-counterfeiting measures. Deng Ke, the CEO of PrimeNumber Chain Technology Chengdu Co., Ltd -- the company that developed the blockchain which will be used by the system -- said that the system will not only help improve the government's regulatory measures, but will also improve the efficiency of the supervision. The blockchain traceability system will also provide centralized management of traceability information for enterprises and permit queries for information about products. As Cointelegraph recently reported, the Cyberspace Administration of China has introduced new regulations for blockchain firms that are operating in the country.
"Made in China" used to mean cheap and poor quality, and probably involving the theft of intellectual property somewhere along the line. That perception has been out of date for many years now. Counterfeiting by Chinese manufacturers is still a major problem in some industries, but the best Chinese companies are world leaders in quality and in innovation. European telecoms utilities are alarmed by Trump's demand that they exclude Huawei components from their 5G rollout programmes: if they comply, their 5G services will be late and expensive. China's two mobile payments giants, Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat Pay, both have many more active users than PayPal and Apple Pay combined.