China’s State Council, the country’s central administrative branch of government, has sent a highest-level order demanding that local authorities speed up blockchain technology development, it was revealed on Thursday.

The order, first issued by the State Council on May 4 to provincial and municipal governments, addresses a variety of strategies required to continue the reformation of the Guangdong Pilot Free-Trade Zone.

One area of focus is to accelerate the development of financial technologies, which includes the expedition of “developing and implementing blockchain applications under existing regulatory frameworks,” the document states.

Authorized by the State Council in 2014, the Guangdong Free-Trade Zone is a designated region within China’s Guangdong province that integrates with Hong Kong and Macau to build a more internationalized free market.

While the order does not contain fine detail on how and to what extent blockchain should be used in the free-trade zone, it is nonetheless notable as it marks the first time that the central government has pushed to scale up blockchain use in a top-level official document.

Currently, according to data released by China’s Ministry of Information and Technology this week, the Guangdong province has 71 blockchain startups, a number that accounts for 16 percent of industry players in China.

Yet this isn’t the first time that the blockchain has been brought up in China’s central government documents.

In 2016, the State Council introduced the concept of blockchain as part of an information technology reformation strategy in the country’s 13th five-year economic development plan from 2016 to 2020.

That official order saw blockchain initially mentioned as one of the many emerging technologies that should be taken into consideration as part of the economic reform.

China State Council image via Shutterstock

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