It is the largest devaluation in China’s system in over 20 years. When reading news and analysis of this event, you might see both terms—“renminbi” and “yuan”—used interchangeably. The renminbi is the official currency of the People’s Republic of China, and translates to “people’s money.” Its international symbol is CNY (or CNH in Hong Kong; but abbreviated RMB, with the symbol ¥). The Renminbi in Foreign ExchangeDuring the command economy, the Chinese Yuan Renminbi was set to unrealistic exchange values and as a result, severe currency guidelines were put in place. When China’s economy opened in 1978, the Yuan Renminbi was only used domestically and foreigners used exchange certificates; this led to a powerful black market. From 1997 to 2005, the Chinese government pegged the Chinese Yuan Renminbi to the US Dollar at approximately 8.3 CNY to 1 USD.

  1. To give a practical example of this control, let’s recap the Trade War between China and the United States.
  2. Restrictions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was also loosened and capital inflows to China surged.
  3. The People’s Bank of China has exclusive authority to issue currency.
  4. In conversation and in shops, you may also hear yuan signified with the word kuai.
  5. The yuan was equivalent to 7 mace and 2 candareens (or 0.72 tael) and, for a time, coins were marked as such in English.

It is the legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau use the Hong Kong dollar and the Macanese pataca, respectively. In the Republic of China (ROC), the New Taiwan dollar is the official legal tender in Taiwan since 2000. Around 210 BC, the first emperor of China Qin Shi Huang (260–210 BC) abolished all other forms of local currency and introduced a uniform copper coin.

Republic of China

After the revolution, a great many local, national and foreign banks issued currency. Although the provincial coinages mostly ended in the 1920s, the provincial banks continued issuing notes until 1949, including Communist issues from 1930. Most of the banknotes issued for use throughout the country bore the words “National Currency”, as saxo bank broker review did some of the provincial banks. The remaining provincial banknotes bore the words “Local Currency”. These circulated at varying exchange rates to the national currency issues. After the revolution, in addition to the denominations already in circulation, “small money” notes proliferated, with 1, 2 and 5 cent denominations appearing.

Are the yuan and renminbi the same?

CNY is the official currency abbreviation for the Chinese Yuan under the ISO 4217 standard. In addition, due to China’s cross-border currency controls, the Chinese Yuan may trade for a different price in offshore markets, such as Hong Kong. In order to distinguish between these two prices, the unofficial abbreviation CNH is sometimes used to refer to the offshore price of the Chinese Yuan. During the Chinese Civil War, the communist party established the People’s Bank of China and issued the first renminbi notes in December 1948, about a year before it defeated the Kuomintang government. The largest banknote is 100 yuan, followed by 50 yuan, 20 yuan, 10 yuan, 5 yuan, and 1 yuan.

Older fēn and large jiǎo coins are uncommonly still seen in circulation, but are still valid in exchange. In 1991, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of an aluminium ¥0.1, brass ¥0.5 and nickel-clad steel ¥1. These were smaller than the previous jiǎo and yuán coins and depicted flowers on the obverse and the national emblem on the reverse. Issuance of the aluminium ¥0.01 and ¥0.02 coins ceased in 1991, with that of the ¥0.05 halting in 1994. The small coins were still struck for annual uncirculated mint sets in limited quantities, and from the beginning of 2005, the ¥0.01 coin got a new lease on life by being issued again every year since then up to present.

Some of the banknotes were denominated in chuàn, strings of wén coins. The People’s Bank was founded in 1948 and began issuing currency that year, but some of the regional banks continued to issue their own notes in to 1949. The Republic of China, which governs Taiwan, believes wide usage of the renminbi would create an underground economy and undermine its sovereignty.[88] Tourists are allowed to bring in up to ¥20,000 when visiting Taiwan. Beginning in January 2010, Chinese and non-Chinese citizens have an annual exchange limit of a maximum of US$50,000.

Cash is still the preferred means of transaction, so notes of various denominations are changing hands all day long, even for quite large amounts. In 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) designated the yuan as an official reserve currency. As China relaxed controls, the yuan experienced greater market volatility. It fell, indicating that the market thought the yuan was overvalued. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) manages the yuan’s value so that it rises and falls along with the dollar.


China has also made agreements with Australia, Japan, Thailand, Russia, and Vietnam to allow for direct currency trade, instead of converting to the US Dollar. As a managed float, the Renminbi’s value is determined by a basket of foreign currencies. Several series of the renminbi were issued since the 1950s, each of which has its own banknotes and coins.

Photos of Current Chinese Bank Notes

Although they look quite different, the characters 壹圆 (yī yuán) are actually the same as 一元 (yī yuán). Technically, though, RMB is the name of the Chinese currency (like US Dollar), while CNY is a unit of that currency (like “bucks” or “dollars”). This guide will teach you how to design an effective checkout process for cross-border payments, with a specialized focus on the trending emerging markets.

History of Chinese currency

Bank staff can prove very helpful and understanding in this given they find the rule changes no less tiresome than their customers. Be patient with them, and you will find the bank’s employees are very much on your side, and eager to help. With your cash, as well as other valuable possessions, be wary of pick pockets, particularly in crowded areas such as travel hubs. In a shop, produce your money and put it away again within the shop itself to prevent passers-by making a note of where you are keeping it or making an opportunistic grab.

From 1997 to 2005, the Chinese government pegged the RMB to the United States currency at about 8.3 RMB per dollar, despite criticisms from the United States. In 1999, a fifth series of RMB was issued, featuring Mao Zedong on all notes. In China notes are preferred to coins, especially in rural areas, though historically, and up until only about 140 years ago, the coin with the hole in the middle was currency. Others caught on to this idea and so that hometown, the attractive and well-preserved walled town of Pingyao in Shanxi province, became for a while the financial center of all China.

It all started in the middle of 2018, when the US placed a 25% duties on around US$34 billion of imports from China, and the Chinese, on the other hand, imposed a 25 % tariff on 545 goods from the US worth US$34 billion. Well, it is simply because of an ancient custom which Kuài used to refer to any coin made of silver or copper, and its translation from Mandarin simply means “piece”. Actually there is no “truly” difference since both refer to China’s currency. Renminbi, however, is the official name of China’s currency, while Yuan is the name of a unit of the Renminbi. Thus, it will be wrong, for example, if you say that something costs 20 Renminbi. The Japanese Imperial Government issued currency through several means during their occupation of China.

It was not until the Communist era began in 1949 that a stable currency was established, using mostly notes, and coins for denominations of 1 yuan and lower. Early Currency in ChinaWith a history of over 3000 years, Chinese currency existed in both Ancient and Imperial China. In 1914, the Silver Dollar was established as the official currency of the Republic of China, with copper, fen, and nickel coins being added in the 1930s. During this time silver appreciated in value, and China could no longer retain the silver standard. The term Chinese yuan renminbi (CNY) refers to the currency used in the People’s Republic of China.

There are 10 jiao in a yuan (like dimes in a dollar) and 10 fen in a jiao. Since currency flows in and out of mainland China are still restricted, renminbi traded in off-shore markets, such as the Hong Kong market, can have a different value to renminbi traded on the mainland. The offshore RMB market is usually denoted as CNH, but there is another renminbi interbank and spot market in Taiwan for domestic trading known as CNT. Renminbi is the name of the currency while yuan is the name of the primary unit of the renminbi. This is analogous to the distinction between “sterling” and “pound” when discussing the official currency of the United Kingdom.[13] Jiao and fen are also units of renminbi.


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