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Chinese State-Owned Telecom Accepts Bitcoin

Op-ed - Chinese State-Owned Telecom Accepts Bitcoin

Written by: James Choi (8BTC)

Edited By: Elizabeth T. Ploshay (Bitcoin Magazine)

Jiangsu Telecom, a branch of China Telecom, the largest fixed line service and 3rd largest mobile telecommunication provider in China, recently announced its decision to accept Bitcoin for one of its promotion campaigns.

Bitcoin has been in the spotlight these days in China. With its soaring price and full coverage by CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, Bitcoin has drawn abundant attention in the world’s 2nd largest economy. Although there is no official statement from the government about the legal status of Bitcoin, one can still sense the supportive attitude from every hint released by different parties related to the government. The decision made by Jiangsu Telecom, a branch of one of China’s key state-owned-enterprise (SOE), to accept Bitcoin can be considered as one more important hint from the government.

The news was released by Jiangsu Telecom’s Weibo, a Twitter-like service in China. It encouraged Bitcoin holders in China to pay 0.1 BTC to make a reservation for a Samsung W2014 package, which includes a new Samsung mobile phone and service fee discounts. Customers who pays 0.1 BTC now can get a discounted price on the day when the package is released. The amount of the price deduction depends on the BTC exchange rate against CNY on the release day, with a promised minimal deduction amount of 500 CNY. The campaign also sets an example for Bitcoiners. If a customer pays 0.1 BTC now to reserve the package, he or she could get a deduction of 800 CNY later when the BTC exchange rate reaches 8,000 CNY. If the rate falls to below 5,000, however, the customer can still get the 500 CNY deductible.

The campaign is endorsed by Jackie Chan, the famous Hollywood movie star. Although Jackie Chan has endorsed products before, this endorsement and deal will most likely be a greater success. Some people are making jokes on Weibo, commenting that the government is actually using its massive destructive weapons against Bitcoin. The clear attitude of the Chinese government towards Bitcoin, however, has never been revealed. When asked about his opinion, Yi Gang, the vice president of the Central Bank of China, said that it is impossible to legalize Bitcoin in the near future in China. Sophisticated observers conclude, however, that it is actually a positive signal, as Yi put it in a way implying that the government has no intention to make Bitcoin illegal. Moreover, Yi also admitted that it is every citizen’s right to purchase and sell Bitcoin. With all these comments and news, we may make an optimistic guess about the future of Bitcoin in China.