The official Chinese currency is the Renminbi which you will also see it referred as the Yuan.
What is the difference?
It is used interchangeably, but "Renminbi" is the "official" term
used to refer to China's currency. It literally means "the people's currency". "Yuan" is the actual unit, and seems to be the more
casual term used by every day people on the streets. Similar to the way "sterling" and "pound" are used in the U.K.
Here are some China Money facts:
- The currency code used for the Yuan is CNY, as in the currency codes for
the US Dollar USD, the British Pound GBP and the Euro EUR.
- The currency symbol for the Yuan is ¥, as in the currency symbol for the US Dollar $, the British Pound £,
and the Euro €.
- The RMB currency units are:
- The Yuan = 1
- The Jiao = 1/10 Yuan i.e. one Chinese dime
- The Fen = 1/10 Jiao i.e. one Chinese cent
- Bank notes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100, they are all different sizes and colors. In the front they all
depict the portrait of Chairman Mao:
In the back, each
depicts a famous and recognized site in China:
50 YUAN NOTE
in the back of the note is the
Potala Palace in Llhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region
5 YUAN NOTE
in the back of the note is
a scenery from Tai Shan Mountain
1 YUAN NOTE
in the back of the note is
a scenery from the West Lake
- The Renminbi is used in mainland China only.
Hong Kong and Macau have their own currencies, the Hong Kong dollar and the Pataca respectively.
- The People's Bank of China (PBOC) is China's central bank. Much like the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, it oversees monetary policy in China.
- China's "Big Four" banks, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China
are the largest banks in the world in terms of assets
- Up until 2005 the Yuan was pegged to the US dollar. What does that mean? It means that when the US dollar fluctuated in value against other currencies, either up or down, the value of the yuan would move with it.
The Chinese Yuan is no longer pegged and is now allowed to float
within a narrow band established by the People's Bank of China. The exchange rate floats with reference to a basket of
foreign currencies including the U.S. Dollar, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, Korean Won, and in a lesser degree, the British Pound, Thai Baht,
Russian Ruble, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar and Singapore Dollar.
- Check out our section for travel to China and answers to the more common money questions:
- Exchange Rates
- Where to change money
- Will my ATM card work in China?
- Paying with Credit Cards in China, etc.
- Mobile payments is the way to go now
>> More on Chinese Money
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