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China Is Betting Big on Its Digital Currency. What It Means for Alibaba and Tencent.

China’s digital currency may be an innovation on the world stage. But it’s playing catch-up at home.

Internet giants Alibaba Group Holding (ticker: BABA) and Tencent (700.Hong Kong) already manage payment systems that have effectively become coin of the realm in urban China. Tencent’s WeChat Pay boasts 900 million monthly users, replacing cash even in farmers markets, says Simon Hawkins, co-chair of law firm Latham & Watkins’ cryptocurrency practice.

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