China’s Commerce Ministry announced today that it will expand the trials of the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) to include Beijing, as well as Tianjin and Hebei provinces.

According to an Aug. 14 report by the Wall Street Journal, there is not yet a set time when the expanded pilot program of the Chinese CBDC will begin. Still, the nation’s Ministry of Commerce announced that the policy framework should be complete by the end of 2020.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, the expanded pilot will also include the Hong Kong Greater Bay area — consisting of nine cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong, and Macau.

A Chinese Ministry of Commerce representative said today that the trials will cover much of China’s wealthiest regions. Poorer central and western regions that meet unspecified criteria will also join testing. The People's Bank of China will lead the pilot.

China’s CBDC is known domestically as a digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) and is by many expected to be the first operational national digital currency. In mid-April, the People’s Bank of China tested DCEP as part of a transport subsidies scheme for government and enterprise workers in Suzhou — a major city in Jiangsu Province.

Earlier this month, Chinese state-run banks were also reported to be testing a digital wallet designed for DCEP on a large scale.