As China is moving forward with blockchain projects amid the COVID-19 crisis, the government has tapped another tech partnership to continue the development of China’s digital yuan.

Domestic artificial intelligence (AI) startup SenseTime has partnered with the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) Digital Currency Research Institute to provide its AI expertise amid the reported trials of the central bank’s digital currency (CBDC).

SenseTime to accelerate AI advancement in a joint body with PBoC

SenseTime, purportedly the world’s highest-valued AI startup with an over $7.5 billion valuation, will work with the PBoC to improve risk control and operational capabilities across financial institutions, local news agency South China Morning Post reports April 27. SenseTime is backed by global e-commerce giant Alibaba that led SenseTime’s $600 million funding in 2018.

According to an April 27 statement by SenseTime, the Hong Kong-based startup and the Digital Currency Research Institute will set up a joint research division to accelerate AI adoption in finance:

“The two parties will jointly establish a research and innovation body, take application scenarios, jointly develop AI applications in finance, and accelerate the advancement of AI innovation research in the financial field.”

Cointelegraph reached out to SenseTime for additional information and will update as soon as we hear back.

China accelerates blockchain and digital yuan projects amid COVID-19 crisis

The latest partnership comes amid the Chinese government apparently accelerating its blockchain and cryptocurrency-related initiatives.

China’s digital yuan is reportedly being trialed across four cities, Shenzhen, Xiongan, Chengdu, and Suzhou. American food industry giants Starbucks and McDonald’s are reportedly supporting digital yuan payments in Xiong’an, one of four pilot program locations. According to local reports, China’s digital yuan is scheduled to go live in May 2020.

Alongside the CBDC, China is also actively working on nationwide blockchain implementation. On April 25, China reportedly launched the country’s Blockchain-based Service Network for commercial use. Founded by state-run entities like the State In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter, the project was rolled out for testing in late 2019.