The Chinese currency is called Renminbi (People's money), often abbreviated as RMB. Issued by the People's Bank of China, it is the sole legal tender for both the Chinese nationals and foreign tourists. The unit of Renminbi is yuan and the smaller, jiao and fen. The conversion among the three is: 1 yuan = 10 jiao =100 fen. Chinese people normally refer to Yuan as Kuai, Jiao as Mao. RMB is issued both in notes and coins. The denominations of paper notes include 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen. The denominations of coins are 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen.
Although foreign currency cannot be circulated within the People's Republic of China or used to determine the price and settle accounts, it can be exchanged in China through traveler's cheques, currency conversion at banks and hotels. Besides, many credit cards can also be used in China. What follows is a more detailed explanation.
Traveler's cheques provide a fairly secure way of carrying money. The Bank of China can cash travelers' cheques sold by international commercial banks and travelers' cheque companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries and regions. Also the Bank of China sells travelers' cheques for such banks as American Express, Citibank, Tongjilong Travelers' Cheque Co., the Sumitomo Bank of Japan, the Swiss Banking Corporation and others.
Money exchange facilities for both currency and travelers' cheques are available at major airports, hotels, and department stores. Please note that hotels may only exchange money for their guests. The US dollar, British pound, French franc, German mark, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, Austrian schilling, Belgian franc, Canadian dollar, HK dollar, Swiss franc, Danish Krone, Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit, Italian lira, Macao dollar, Finnish markka, and Taiwan dollar are all exchangeable. Exchange rates fluctuate in line with international financial market conditions and are published daily by the State Exchange Control Administration.
Keep your currency exchange receipts, because you will need to show them when you change RMB back to your own currency at the end of your visit to China. Currency rather than credit cards is essential in remote areas, and you should ensure that you carry sufficient RMB and travelers' cheques to cover your requirements.
At present, the following credit cards are accepted in China: Master Card, Federal Card, Visa, American Express, JCB and Diners Card. Holders can draw cash from the Bank of China and pay for purchases at exchange centers of the Bank of China, appointed shops, hotels and restaurants. However, this applies only in major cities. Credit cards are not always accepted for the purchase of rail and air tickets. ATMs that accept foreign cards are few and far between. Do not rely on them as a way of obtaining cash in Mainland China.
Consult with your bank before departing to make sure that your brand of cheque or credit card will be accepted.
There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency and foreign exchange bills that can be brought into China by tourists, but the amount must be declared to the customs.
For more information, please click Exchange Rate.
(China.org.cn, June 12, 2002)