What is the Money Called in China: Unpacking Renminbi, Yuan, Jiao, and Fen


Currency plays a significant role in any country’s economy. It enables people to buy goods and services, facilitates transactions, and contributes to the overall economic growth of a nation. Chinese currency has a history dating back to more than 2000 years. The different dynasties have had their own systems of currency. However, the modern-day Chinese currency’s history started in the 20th century. In this article, we will explore the basics of Chinese currency and its significance in the global economy.

Unpacking the Chinese Currency: What is it Called and How Does it Work?

Explaining the Basics of Chinese Currency

The official currency of China is the renminbi, and it has been the country’s legal tender since 1949. People often use the terms renminbi and yuan interchangeably, but they are not the same. The renminbi is the currency, and yuan is the primary unit of currency. In the Chinese language, Renminbi means ‘the people’s currency.’

The Importance of Renminbi

The renminbi is essential to China’s economy as it helps the country to import and export goods and services. The value of the renminbi has a significant impact on trade flows and investments. Moreover, its value affects the purchasing power of the Chinese people.

Background on China’s Monetary Policy

China’s monetary policy is overseen by the People’s Bank of China. The central bank sets monetary policy and regulates the amount of money in circulation. The aim is to maintain price stability and sustainable economic growth. The People’s Bank of China also manages the exchange rate of the renminbi.

A Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Money: Name, Value, and Function

Renminbi: Name and Meaning

The renminbi is the official currency of China, and its symbol is ¥. It comes from the Chinese language, where ren means people, and bi means currency. The banknotes issued by the People’s Bank of China have iconic Chinese landmarks like the Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven, and Mount Everest.

The Decimal System and Yuan Value

The decimal system is used in Chinese currency where each big unit is divided into 10 smaller units. The primary unit of currency is yuan, and its value is based on 10 jiao or 100 fen. One yuan is equal to ten jiao, and one jiao is equal to ten fen.

Understanding Jiao and Fen

While the renminbi is the official currency, it is divided into smaller units called jiao and fen. One jiao is one-tenth of a yuan, and one fen is one-hundredth of a yuan. In practice, jiao and fen are not commonly used as the prices of goods and services are often listed in whole yuan.

The Renminbi: Understanding China’s National Currency

Transition to the Renminbi from the Yuan

The renminbi has a history dating back to ancient Chinese dynasties, but its current form began after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Before the renminbi, another currency called the yuan was used. In 1985, the value of the renminbi was fixed against the US dollar, and in 1997, it was allowed to float within certain limits.

The Significance of the Renminbi in China’s Economy

The significance of the renminbi in China’s economy cannot be overstated. It is centrally managed by the People’s Bank of China, and its value has a critical impact on the country’s economy. The renminbi is often viewed as an indicator of China’s economic performance. If the renminbi is weak, it means that China’s economy is not doing well, and if it is strong, it indicates a thriving economy.

Renminbi’s Role in International Trade

The renminbi is becoming an increasingly important currency in international trade. It is now the world’s fifth most used payment currency, and China is the world’s largest trading nation. As the global use of the renminbi increases, it will help reduce China’s dependence on the US dollar and increase its global influence.

Demystifying Chinese Cash: A Look at the Yuan and its Place in the World Economy

Introduction to the Yuan

The yuan is the primary unit of currency in China, and it is often used interchangeably with the term renminbi. The yuan has a dynamic place in the global economy and is becoming an increasingly significant currency.

Comparison of the Yuan and Other World Currencies

The yuan’s value is compared to other world currencies like the US dollar, British pound, Japanese yen, and the euro. In the past, the yuan was known for being undervalued compared to other currencies, which gave China an advantage in trade. However, in recent years, China has been working to strengthen the yuan and increase its value on the global stage.

Yuan’s Role in Global Markets

The yuan has become increasingly important in international trade, and China has been encouraging its use in global markets. As China grows its economic power, the use of yuan may eventually challenge the dominance of the US dollar.

Everything You Need to Know About Currency in China: Names, Symbols, and Exchange Rates

Chinese Currency Symbols

The Chinese currency symbol (¥) is sometimes mistaken for the Japanese yen (¥). However, if you look closely, you can see that the Chinese symbol has one horizontal stroke at the bottom of the vertical stroke, while the Japanese yen symbol has two.

Common Names for Chinese Currency

While the official name for China’s currency is the renminbi, it is commonly referred to as yuan or kwai. Renminbi (RMB), has a different meaning than yuan and kwai, which are interchangeable.

Exchange Rates and Conversion

The exchange rate of the renminbi can be a bit confusing due to the various exchange rates used within China and outside the country. China has different rates of exchange for individuals and businesses. The official exchange rate is also different from the market rate. When converting yuan to other currencies, the most commonly used exchange rate is the market rate.

Exploring the Chinese Financial Landscape: The Yuan, Yen, and Other Currencies

Overview of China’s Other Currencies

While the renminbi is the official currency of China, the country has other currencies like the Hong Kong dollar and the Macanese pataca. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar, while the Macanese pataca is pegged to the renminbi.

Comparison of the Yuan and Yen

The yuan and yen are both East Asian currencies, but they have significant differences. The yen is the official currency of Japan and is the third most traded currency in the world. The yuan, on the other hand, is the official currency of China and is not yet fully convertible.

Understanding Financial Transactions in China

Financial transactions in China can be a bit challenging due to the various regulations and restrictions. The Chinese government exercises tight control over its financial system, and foreign investors need to adhere to stringent rules while operating in China.

The Renminbi vs. the Dollar: Which is Stronger and Why?

Comparison of the Dollar and Renminbi

As the world’s two largest economies, the US and China have a keen interest in each other’s currencies. The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, and China is the world’s second-largest economy. However, the value of each has remained a source of controversy and speculation. The US dollar has been strong, while the renminbi has been weaker in recent years.

Factors Affecting the Strength of Each Currency

The strength of each currency is affected by various factors like economic policies, interest rates, political stability, and market confidence. The value of the renminbi is influenced by China’s current account surplus, foreign exchange reserves, and its effort to reform the currency. The value of the US dollar is influenced by its global economic role and the actions of the US Federal Reserve.

Future Outlook for the Renminbi

The future of the renminbi is a matter of speculation, but it is clear that it will continue to increase in importance globally. As China’s economy continues to grow, its currency will play a more significant role in international trade, challenging the dominance of the US dollar.


Summary of Key Points

Chinese currency is essential to the country’s economy, and understanding it is crucial for anyone engaging in business in China. The official name of China’s money is the renminbi, and its primary unit of currency is the yuan. The use of the renminbi in global markets is increasing, and its value has become an indicator of China’s economic performance. Exchange rates and conversions can be challenging due to the various rates used. The future of the renminbi is a matter of speculation, but its significance in the global economy is increasing.

Importance of Understanding Chinese Currency

China is the world’s second-largest economy, and its currency plays an essential role in international trade and finance. Knowledge of Chinese currency is vital for anyone engaging in cross-border transactions with China. Understanding the nuances of the currency and its place in the global economy is essential for making informed business and investment decisions.

Encouragement for Further Research

While we have provided an overview of Chinese currency, there is much more to explore. For anyone engaging in business in China or seeking to understand further its economy, we encourage further research on the topic.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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