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-- Chinese Currency

Chinese currency is called Renminbi (people's money), often abbreviated as RMB. It is issued by the People's Bank of China.

The unit of Renminbi is yuan and its smaller denominations are called jiao and fen. The conversion among the three is:

1 yuan = 10 jiao =100 fen

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.

Note: in spoken Chinese, yuan is often called as kuai and jiao as mao.

-- Exchange of Foreign Currencies

Foreign currencies and travelers' cheques can be changed at border crossings, international airports, main centers of the Bank of China, tourist hotels, some friendship stores and some big department stores. Top-end hotels will generally change money for hotel guests only. The official rate is given almost everywhere, so there is little need to shop around looking for the best deal.

Australian, Canadian, US, UK, Hong Kong, Japanese and most Western European currencies are accepted in China, although US dollars are still the easiest to change.

It is possible to change foreign currencies on the black market in China. However, although rates are better, travelers are advised not to take the risk due to the likelihood of being cheated or given counterfeit notes.

-- Foreign Currencies That Can Be Exchanged in China

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 condition and are published daily by the State Exchange Control Administration.

You shall 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 visit to China. Cash 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.

-- Credit Cards

At present, the following credit cards are accepted in China: Master Card, Federal Card, Visa, American Express, JCB, and Diners Card. Cardholders can withdraw cash from the Bank of China and pay for purchases at exchange centers of the Bank of China, appointed shops, hotels, and restaurants.

However, they can be used only in major cities and they are not always accepted in remote areas. 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 on the Chinese mainland.

Consult with your bank before departing to make sure that your brand of cheque or credit card will be accepted.

-- Traveler's Cheques

Traveler's cheques provide a fairly secure way of carrying your money. Always remember to keep the record of cheque numbers separate from the cheques for reference in the event of loss.

For the convenience of tourists, 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 as well as many other countries. Also the Bank of China sells travelers' cheques for other banking institutions such as American Express, Citibank, Tongjilong Travelers' Cheque Co., the Sumitomo Bank of Japan, the Swiss Banking Corporation, to name a few.

-- Relevant Provisions on Currency

There is no limit on the amount of foreign currencies and foreign exchange bills that can be brought into China by tourists, but they must be declared to the Customs.

RMB should be converted back into foreign currencies with the personal valid "foreign exchange certificate" before leaving China. Unused foreign exchanges and RMB traveler's cheques can be taken out of the country. Each tourist is permitted to take with them less than RMB 6,000.

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