HONG KONG (Reuters) - A long-awaited China International Payment System (CIPS) that would facilitate international usage of the yuan is ready and may be launched as early as September or October, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The system, which would be a worldwide payments superhighway for the yuan <CHN=> <CNY=CFXS>, will replace a patchwork of networks and allow hassle-free renminbi transactions, greatly boosting the internationalization of the Chinese currency.
"The CIPS is ready now and China has selected 20 banks to do the testing, among which 13 banks are Chinese banks and the rest are subsidiaries of foreign banks," said a senior banking source who is involved in the matter.
"The official launch will be in September or October, depending on the results of the testings and preparation," the source said.
A second source with direct knowledge of the matter said authorities are striving to launch the first phase of CIPS before December.
"It's not a plan but we are trying our best to have the first phase (of CIPS) online before the end of this year," said the source, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
"If it's all smooth, (the launch) will be in September or October. If there is a need for a bit more time, we are still confident about (rolling it out) before the year-end," he said.
The People's Bank of China was not immediately available for comment when contacted.
(Reporting by Michelle Chen and Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong and Koh Gui Qing in Beijing; Editing by Richard Borsuk)