Travel Preparation

Chinese Currency

One currency, several names

People are often confused by how to refer to Chinese money. In English you can call the Chinese dollar. In Chinese it has 3 common names and 2 symbols in use.

The official name for the currency is Renminbi, which means People's Currency and is abbreviated to RMB. The most widespread international usage is Yuan, which is abbreviated to CNY. You can write CNY 1000 or RMB 1000 - both refer to 1000 Chinese "dollars".

You will commonly hear people say "kuai", pronounced kwai, which is a local word for yuan. Vendors in the street may tell you that certain item is 10 renminbi, 10 yuan or 10 kuai, so make sure to remember at least one of the Chinese currency's names!

The symbol for the Chinese Yuan is "¥". however, in most stores and restaurants in China, the symbol is represented by the Chinese character "元".

To further confuse you there are two names for 1/10th of a Chinese dollar. It can be called one "mao" or "jiao"(pronounced "mao" or "jiao"). Both refer to the same thing: 1/10 of a dollar.(Due to the inflation in past years, 1/10 of a dollar is not widely used and usually rounded to Yuan in China today)

Please note that Chinese Yuan or RMB is only used in Mainland China. Hong Kong's currency is the Hong Kong Dollar, and Macau's currency is called Pataca.

Learn about managing cash and payment while travelling in China

Bank notes:

Chinese Yuans

Small changes (0.1 and 0.5 yuan):

small changes

Coins (1 yuan and 1 mao/jiao):

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