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Renminbi vs yuan: What’s the Difference?

Renminbi vs yuan: What’s the Difference?

The term Chinese yuan renminbi (CNY) refers to the currency used in the People’s Republic of China. Although it may seem a little confusing because the names are often depicted together, they’re actually two separate terms. A yuan acts as China’s unit of account for its financial system and economy, which represents a single unit of money. The term renminbi, on the other hand, is the official name of the currency itself.

  • Below, you’ll find Chinese Yuan Renminbi rates and a currency converter.
  • Even though CNH and CNY share certain similarities, they’re not the same.
  • Chinese paper money comes in denominations of one, five, ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred.
  • One practical consideration arising from this is the relatively low value of the highest denomination (100 yuan) bank note in China when compared with other currencies, which means you’d a bigger wallet for making cash payments.
  • 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 ¥).
  • It was valued at 1.2 yuan in the earlier (and still circulating) “small money” banknotes and was initially set equal to the Japanese yen.

This currency was short-lived, as the Chinese Communist Party soon gained control of the Mainland provinces. It was replaced by currency issued by the People’s Bank of China which was less prone to inflation. Wire Transfer using a service called Money Transfer is available and is a joint venture between the China Courier Service Corporation and Western Union. This service allows instant money wiring to and from 100 countries. Check out this blog for LOTS of cryptocurrency related words in Chinese. At the till, you’ll see people flash their phones quickly at the cashier, or hold up their phone to scan a QR code much more often than you’ll see someone reach for their wallet.

It is unlikely to undergo any dramatic fluctuations, its movements characterised by steady rises and falls over months, even years. One thing you must do is save all your receipts for foreign currency to RMB conversions. Exchange major foreign currency (USD, EUR, GBP…) in large denominations at the airport, branches of the Bank of China, and large hotels in China.

Instead, most people in China refer to their money as “kuài” (块). Today, renminbi is the general name for the Chinese currency, while Top natural gas stocks yuan is the name of a unit of that currency. One way to understand this is to imagine a country that uses gold as its currency.

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As a result, the yuan was overvalued compared with other trading partners not pegged to the dollar. By adding to the supply of Treasurys for sale in the market, their value drops, along with the value of the dollar. It also gives the PBOC cash to purchase more yuan, raising the currency’s value. If you plan to stay in China short-term, it’s best to stick to what you know and use ATMs to withdraw cash using your international card. There is also 100 分 (fen) in a yuan, just like there are 100 pence in one pound sterling. Since the founding of the China People’s Bank in China in 1948, four series of bank notes have been released in China.

Aside from its practical value, money is made distinctive by the culture in which it rises and evolves. Chinese money is no different, with the bank notes proudly diplaying the face forex trading secrets of Mao Zedong as testament to China’s recent history. In this guide, beyond the value of money in its purchasing power, we consider its value as a reflection of the Chinese people.

Get your Wise travel money card online for free, to send and spend money around the world at the real exchange rate. The Wise Chinese yuan travel money card lets you top up in your local currency, and switch to yuan to spend when you’re in China. You’ll get the best rate for spending in Chinese yuan – and can also hold and spend 40+ other currencies with the same card. You’ll find Chinese banknotes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40 and 100 yuan and 1, 2 and 5 jiao.

The word renminbi came into use the same year the People’s Republic of China was founded, in 1949. The word yuan, however, is much older, and was originally used to refer to the silver coins that European merchants used to trade with Chinese merchants almost 500 years ago. In 2015 the People’s Bank of China again devalued their country’s currency. As of 1 September 2015[update], the exchange rate for US$1 is ¥6.38. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, China worked to make the renminbi more convertible.

In the summer of 2018, the IMF reported that the Chinese Yuan was in line with fundamentals, only to then witness the yuan reach a 13-month low in response to an escalating tariff war with the United States. Use Wise for fast, low-cost, and secure online money transfers from the United Kingdom to China. The Korean won (won) used to be written with the hanja (Chinese) character 圜 from 1902 to 1910, and 圓 some time after World War II.

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Although designs changed compared with imperial era coins, the sizes and metals used in the coinage remained mostly unchanged until the 1930s. The majority of regional mints closed during the 1920s and 1930s, although some continued until 1949. From 1936, the central government issued copper 1⁄2, 1 and 2 fen coins, nickel (later cupronickel) 5, 10 and 20 fen and 1⁄1 yuan coins.

Taiwan dollar

1 yuan, 1 and 5 jiao, and 1, 2, and 5 fen coins are even common used in larger cities. In November 1993, the Third Plenum of the Fourteenth CPC Central Committee approved a comprehensive reform strategy in which foreign exchange management reforms were highlighted as a key element for a market-oriented economy. A floating exchange rate regime and convertibility for renminbi were seen as the ultimate goal of the reform. Conditional convertibility under current account was achieved by allowing firms to surrender their foreign exchange earning from current account transactions and purchase foreign exchange as needed. Restrictions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was also loosened and capital inflows to China surged. The Chinese economy relies on its two currency system to regulate the exchange rate of its money and maintain control over foreign investments.

Transition to an equilibrium exchange rate

This is good news for businesses located outside China because it makes it easier for them to enter China’s massive market and facilitate transactions, including sending money to China. While most countries have a single currency, China has two currencies — CNH and CNY. Where the former caters exclusively to mainland index trading China, the latter is primed for international trade. After the promulgation of the People’s Republic of China, there was a brief period where 100,000 gold yuan could be exchanged for 1 yuan Renminbi. The Chinese Communist Party gained control of large areas of the northeast of China during 1948 and 1949.

Instead, it is managed through a floating exchange rate, which means it is allowed to float in a narrow margin around a fixed base rate determined with reference to a basket of world currencies. In 1917, the warlord in control of Manchuria, Zhang Zuolin, introduced a new currency, known as the Fengtien yuan or dollar, for use in the Three Eastern Provinces. It was valued at 1.2 yuan in the earlier (and still circulating) “small money” banknotes and was initially set equal to the Japanese yen. It maintained its value (at times being worth a little more than the yen) until 1925, when Zhang Zuolin’s military involvement in the rest of China lead to an increase in banknote production and a fall in the currency’s value. The currency lost most of its value in 1928 as a consequence of the disturbance following Zhang Zuolin’s assassination. The Fengtien yuan was only issued in banknote form, with 1, 5 and 10 yuan notes issued in 1917, followed by 50 and 100 yuan notes in 1924.

When telling someone how much something costs, you would be unlikely to say “This car costs 10 gold.” You need some sort of unit, such as ounces. Then you could say, “This car costs 10 ounces of gold.” In this example, gold is the currency, and ounce is the unit. If you ask an economist, however, they will tell you that these terms are actually somewhat different. It comes down to the difference between currency and units of currency.

The earliest issues were silver coins produced at the Kwangtung mint in denominations of 5 fen, 1, 2 and 5 jiao and 1 yuan. Other regional mints were opened in the 1890s producing similar coins. Copper coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 wen were also issued. The central government began issuing its own coins in the yuan currency system in 1903.

China’s Growing Cashless Society

Before Japanese occupation, the predominant bank of China’s northern provinces (including Suiyuan, Chahar and Shanxi) was the Charhar Commercial Bank. When the Japanese invaded, the bank evacuated the area taking all of its capital and all unissued currency. The Japanese military government quickly established the Channan Commercial Bank to replace its note issuing functions. The Bank of Taiwan was originally established by the Japanese in 1899 whilst Taiwan was under Japanese administration. The bank issued Taiwanese yen which were pegged to the Japanese yen.


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