Big Switch to virtual money in China

December 5, 2006 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

James (Singapore) writes:

The Big Switch is all about people taking control of their media and choices. But this article at DNA reminds us how profound the implications can be. A new virtual currency, which has been born from within QQ, China’s massive instant messenger phenomenon, could be set to disrupt the official economy:

… earlier this month, China’s central bank gave expression to concerns that virtual money in China needed to be regulated, and that the bank would issue guidelines next year on virtual transactions. 

…The subject of China’s virtual economy has been agitating some of the country’s keenest minds in recent times. Commentaries in economic journals have speculated on whether the profileration of QQ coins would result in Tencent becoming a ‘virtual central bank’. There are even scholarly expositions on whether conditions are ripe for ‘virtual inflation’

I’d love to know more about this story. Is this a case of a new virtual alternative to money emerging, because of the regulatory difficulties of performing transactions in the official economy? Is it, like pagers and mobile phones in the 90’s, a case of China leapfrogging ahead because of its problematic infrastructure?

And perhaps more exciting, is there an opportunity for marketers to develop a branded currency?

(thanks again to Paul for the link)

Entry filed under: china.

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