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China plans to launch its own digital currency to stay ahead of the global competition with its central bank approving proposals to conduct trials in some cities, official media here reported on Tuesday.

China's central bank - the People's Bank of China (PBC) - has stepped up efforts to roll out its Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) as it seeks to stay ahead of the competition among central banks around the world and help preserve financial sovereignty, state-run Global Times reported.

The bank is set to conduct trials of the digital currency in cities such as tech hub Shenzhen in the country's southern Guangdong Province, it said.

The initial test, set at the end of this month in Shenzhen, will involve some of the largest banks in the country and telecom carriers, the Times reported, quoting the Caijing Magazine.

The test will be expanded to more areas next year, it said. Similar tests are also expected to be conducted in Suzhou, China's estern Jiangsu Province, the report noted.

Domestic internet giants Alibaba and Tencent will also participate in the trials, it added. The PBC is accelerating the launch as competition heating up among central banks around the world to leap ahead with digital currency, expected to affect a wide range of sectors ranging from financial to retail and trade, the report said.

On Wednesday, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, governor of France's central bank, announced that the bank will conduct a test of a digital currency and launch a call for projects before the end of the first quarter of 2020.
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