Chinese yuan

Chinese yuan

Overview
The yuan is the base unit of a number of modern Chinese currencies. The yuan is the primary unit of account of the Renminbi.

A yuán (元) is also known colloquially as a kuài (块 "lump", originally of silver). One yuán is divided into 10 jiǎo (角) or colloquially máo (毛 "feather"). One jiǎo is divided into 10 fēn (分).

The symbol for the yuan (元) is also used to refer to the currency units of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, and is used to translate the currency unit dollar as well as some other currencies; for example, the US dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 is called Měiyuán (美元), or American yuan, in Chinese, and the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 is called Oūyuán (欧元), or European yuan.
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Encyclopedia
The yuan is the base unit of a number of modern Chinese currencies. The yuan is the primary unit of account of the Renminbi.

A yuán (元) is also known colloquially as a kuài (块 "lump", originally of silver). One yuán is divided into 10 jiǎo (角) or colloquially máo (毛 "feather"). One jiǎo is divided into 10 fēn (分).

The symbol for the yuan (元) is also used to refer to the currency units of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, and is used to translate the currency unit dollar as well as some other currencies; for example, the US dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 is called Měiyuán (美元), or American yuan, in Chinese, and the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 is called Oūyuán (欧元), or European yuan. When used in English in the context of the modern foreign exchange market, the Chinese yuan most commonly refers to the renminbi
Renminbi
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

 (CNY), which traded for US$0.1567 on October 21, 2011.

Etymology and characters


Yuan in Chinese literally means a "round object" or "round coin". During the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, the yuan was a round and silver coin.

The character for yuan has two forms—a less formal, 元, and a more formal, 圓 or 圆. The pronunciation of the two in Mandarin Chinese is the same—yuán. However, in Wu Chinese, as inherited from traditional Chinese pronunciation, 元 (nyoe) and 圓 (yoe) remain distinct phonetically. The Japanese yen
Japanese yen
The is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro. It is also widely used as a reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, the euro and the pound sterling...

 was originally also written 圓, which was simplified to 円 (en) with the promulgation of the Tōyō kanji
Toyo kanji
The tōyō kanji, also known as the Tōyō kanjihyō are the result of a reform of the Kanji characters of Chinese origin in the Japanese written language. They were the kanji declared "official" by the Japanese on November 16, 1946...

in 1946. The Korean won
Korean won
The won was the currency of Korea between 1902 and 1910. It was subdivided into 100 chon .-Etymology:Won is a cognate of the Chinese yuan and Japanese yen.-History:...

 used to be written 圓 (won) some time after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and as 圜 from 1902 to 1910, but is now written as 원 (won) in Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

 exclusively, in both North
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. The Hong Kong dollar
Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is the currency of the jurisdiction. It is the eighth most traded currency in the world. In English, it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively HK$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

, Macanese pataca
Macanese pataca
The pataca is the currency of Macau. It is subdivided into 100 avos , with 10 avos called ho in Cantonese. The abbreviation MOP$ is commonly used....

 and New Taiwan dollar
New Taiwan dollar
The New Taiwan dollar , or simply Taiwan dollar, is the official currency of the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China since 1949, when it replaced the Old Taiwan dollar...

 are all written as 圓. In People's Republic of China, using '¥' as well as RMB to denote the currency is common (e.g. ¥100元 or RMB 100元).

In many parts of China, renminbi (人民幣/人民币 rénmínbì) are counted in kuai rather than "yuan".

In Cantonese, widely spoken in Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

, kuài, jiǎo, and fēn are called mān (蚊), hòuh (毫), and sīn (仙), respectively. Sīn is a word borrowed into Cantonese from the English cent.

Coins

Provincial coinage for the first yuan
ProvinceAnhui
Anhui
Anhui is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny...

 (Anhwei)
1897 1909
Zhejiang
Zhejiang
Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of China. The word Zhejiang was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital...

 (Chekiang)
1897 1924
Hebei
Hebei
' is a province of the People's Republic of China in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "" , named after Ji Province, a Han Dynasty province that included what is now southern Hebei...

 (Chihli)
1896 1908
Liaoning
Liaoning
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northeast of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "辽" , a name taken from the Liao River that flows through the province. "Níng" means "peace"...

 (Fengtien)
1897 1929
Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

 (Fukien)
1896 1932
Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 (Honan)
1905 1931
Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

1897 1926
Hubei
Hubei
' Hupeh) is a province in Central China. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Lake Dongting...

 (Hupeh)
1895 1920
Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

 (Kansu)
1914 1928
Jiangnan
Jiangnan
Jiangnan or Jiang Nan is a geographic area in China referring to lands immediately to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, including the southern part of the Yangtze Delta...

 (Kiangnan)
1898 1911
Jiangxi
Jiangxi
' is a southern province in the People's Republic of China. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to...

 (Kiangsi)
1901 1912
Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

 (Kiangsu)
1898 1906
Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 (Kirin)
1899 1909
Guangxi
Guangxi
Guangxi, formerly romanized Kwangsi, is a province of southern China along its border with Vietnam. In 1958, it became the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, a region with special privileges created specifically for the Zhuang people.Guangxi's location, in...

 (Kwangsi)
1919 1949
Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 (Kwangtung)
1889 1929
Guizhou
Guizhou
' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. Its provincial capital city is Guiyang.- History :...

 (Kweichow)
1928 1949
Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

 (Shansi)
1913 1913
Shandong
Shandong
' is a Province located on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese...

 (Shantung)
1904 1906
Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

 (Shensi)
1928 1928
Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 (Sinkiang)
1901 1949
Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

 (Shechuan)
1898 1930
Taiwan 1893 1894
Yunnan
Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

1906 1949

Early history


The yuan was introduced in 1889 at par with the Mexican peso
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

, a silver coin deriving from the Spanish dollar
Spanish dollar
The Spanish dollar is a silver coin, of approximately 38 mm diameter, worth eight reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform in 1497. Its purpose was to correspond to the German thaler...

 which circulated widely in South East Asia since the 17th century due to Spanish presence in the region, namely Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

. It was subdivided into 1000 cash (文, wén), 100 cents or fen (分, fēn), and 10 jiǎo (角, not given an English name, cf. dime
Dime (United States coin)
The dime is a coin 10 cents, one tenth of a United States dollar, labeled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S...

). It replaced copper cash
Cash (Chinese coin)
A cash was a type of coin of China and East Asia from the 2nd century BC until the AD 20th century. The photograph to the right shows replicas of various ancient to 19th century cast coins in various metals found in China and Japan.-Terminology:...

 and various silver ingots called sycee
Sycee
A sycee was a type of silver or gold ingot currency used in China until the 20th century. The name derives from the Cantonese words meaning "fine silk"...

s. The sycees were denominated in tael
Tael
Tael can refer to any one of several weight measures of the Far East. Most commonly, it refers to the Chinese tael, a part of the Chinese system of weights and currency....

. The yuan was valued at 0.72 tael, (or 7 mace and 2 candareens).

Banknotes were issued in yuan denominations from the 1890s by several local and private banks, along with the Imperial Bank of China
Imperial Bank of China
The Imperial Bank of China was the first Chinese-owned bank modelled on Western banks and banking practices. It was founded in Shanghai by Mr. Sheng Xuanhuai in 1897 successfully operating until 1913 when it was renamed to the Commercial Bank of China...

 and the "Hu Pu Bank" (later the "Ta-Ch'ing Government Bank"), established by the Imperial government. During the Imperial period, banknotes were issued in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 jiǎo, 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan, although notes below 1 yuan were uncommon.

The earliest issues were silver coins produced at the Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 (Canton) mint in denominations of 5 cents, 1, 2 and 5 jiǎo and 1 yuan. Other regional mints were opened in the 1890s producing similar silver coins along with copper coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 cash.

The central government began issuing its own coins in the yuan currency system in 1903. These were brass 1 cash, copper 2, 5, 10 and 20 cash, and silver 1, 2 and 5 jiǎo and 1 yuan. After the revolution, although the designs changed, the sizes and metals used in the coinage remained mostly unchanged until the 1930s. From 1936, the central government issued nickel (later cupronickel
Cupronickel
Cupronickel or copper-nickel or "cupernickel" is an alloy of copper that contains nickel and strengthening elements, such as iron and manganese. Cupronickel is highly resistant to corrosion in seawater, because its electrode potential is adjusted to be neutral with regard to seawater...

) 5, 10 and 20 fen and ½ yuan coins. Aluminium 1 and 5 fen pieces were issued in 1940.
The earliest issues were silver coins produced at the Kwangtung mint. Other regional mints were opened in the 1890s. The central government began issuing its own coins in the yuan currency system in 1903. Banknotes were issued in yuan denominations from the 1890s by several local and private banks, along with banks established by the Imperial government.

In 1917, the warlord in control of Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin was the warlord of Manchuria from 1916 to 1928 . He successfully invaded China proper in October 1924 in the Second Zhili-Fengtian War. He gained control of Peking, including China's internationally recognized government, in April 1926...

, 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
Japanese yen
The is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro. It is also widely used as a reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, the euro and the pound sterling...

. 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. The last notes were issued in 1928.

After the revolution, a great many local, national and foreign banks issued currency. Although the provincial coinages mostly ended in the 1920s, the provincial banks continued issuing notes until 1949, including Communist issues from 1930. Most of the banknotes issued for use throughout the country bore the words "National Currency", as did some of the provincial banks. The remaining provincial banknotes bore the words "Local Currency". These circulated at varying exchange rates to the national currency issues.

During the 1930s, several new currencies came into being in China due to the activities of the invading Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese. The pre-existing, national currency yuan came to be associated only with the Nationalist, Kuomintang government. In 1935, the Kuomintang Government enacted currency reforms to limit currency issuance to four major government controlled banks: the Bank of China
Bank of China
Bank of China Limited is one of the big four state-owned commercial banks of the People's Republic of China. It was founded in 1912 by the Government of the Republic of China, to replace the Government Bank of Imperial China. It is the oldest bank in China...

, Central Bank of China
Central Bank of China
The Central Bank of the Republic of China , known in English from 1924 to 2007 as the Central Bank of China, is the central bank of the Republic of China . Its legal and common name in Chinese is literally translated as the "Central Bank"...

, Bank of Communications
Bank of Communications
Bank of Communications Limited , founded in 1908, is one of the largest banks in China.-Before 1949:The Bank of Communications was founded in 1908 and emerged as one of the first few major national and note-issuing banks in the early days of the Republic of China...

 and later the Farmers Bank of China
Farmers Bank of China
The Farmers Bank of China was one of the largest banks in China and later in Taiwan.-History:The Farmers Bank of China was founded on April 1, 1933 in Hankou from the amalgamation of provincial agricultural banks in Henan, Hubei, Anhui and Jiangxi...

. The circulation of silver yuan coins was prohibited and private ownership of silver was banned. The banknotes issued in its place were known as 法幣 (Pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

: fǎbì) or "Legal Tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

". A new series of base metal coins began production in 1936 following the reforms.

Between 1930 and 1948, banknotes were also issued by the Central Bank of China denominated in customs gold units
Chinese customs gold unit
The customs gold unit was a currency issued by the Central Bank of China between 1930 and 1948. In Chinese, the name of the currency was 關金圓, literally "customs gold yuan" but the English name given on the back of the notes was "customs gold unit". It was divided into 100 cents...

. These circulated as normal currency in the 1940s alongside the yuan.

The Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese occupiers issued coins and banknotes denominated in li (釐, 1/1000 of a yuan), fen, jiao and yuan. Issuers included a variety of banks, including the Central Reserve Bank of China (for the puppet government in Nanking) and the Federal Reserve Bank of China (for the puppet government in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

). The Japanese decreed the exchange rates between the various banks' issues and those of the Nationalists but the banknotes circulated with varying degrees of acceptance among the Chinese population. Between 1932 and 1945, the puppet state of Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 issued its own yuan.

The Japanese established two collaborationist regimes during their occupation in China. In the north, the "Provisional Government of the Republic of China" (中華民國臨時政府) based in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 established the Federal Reserve Bank of China (中國聯合準備銀行, pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

: Zhōngguó liánhé zhǔnbèi yínháng). The FRB issued notes in 1938 at par with Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 y

In the aftermath of the Second World War and during the civil war which followed, Nationalist China suffered from hyperinflation, leading to the introduction of a new currency in 1948, the gold yuan.

The number of banks issuing paper money increased after the revolution
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

. Significant national issuers included the "Commercial Bank of China" (the former Imperial Bank), the "Bank of China" (the former Ta-Ch'ing Government Bank), the "Bank of Communications", the "Ningpo Commercial Bank", the "Central Bank of China" and the "Farmers Bank of China". Of these, only the Central Bank of China issued notes beyond 1943. An exceptionally large number of banknotes were issued during the Republican era
History of the Republic of China
The History of the Republic of China begins after the Qing Dynasty in 1912, when the formation of the Republic of China put an end to over two thousand years of Imperial rule. The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, ruled from 1644 to 1912...

 (1911–1949) by provincial banks (both Nationalist and Communist).

After the revolution, in addition to the denominations already in circulation, "small money" notes proliferated, with 1, 2 and 5 cent denominations appearing. Many notes were issued denominated in English in cash (wén).

In the 1940s, larger denominations of notes appeared due to the high inflation. 500 yuan notes were introduced in 1941, followed by 1000 and 2000 yuan in 1942, 2500 and 5000 yuan in 1945 and 10,000 yuan in 1947.

Banknotes of the first yuan suffered from hyperinflation
Hyperinflation
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or out of control. While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases...

 following the Second World War and were replaced in August 1948 by notes denominated in gold yuan, worth 3 million old yuan. There was no link between the gold yuan and gold metal or coins and this yuan also suffered from hyperinflation.

In 1948, the Central Bank of China issued notes (some dated 1945 and 1946) in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 jiao, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 yuan. In 1949, higher denominations of 500, 1000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000, 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 yuan were issued.

In July 1949, the Nationalist Government introduced the silver yuan, which was initially worth 500 million gold yuan. It circulated for a few months on the mainland before the end of the civil war. This silver yuan remained the de jure official currency of the Republic government in Taiwan until 2000.

The Central Bank of China issued notes in denominations of 1 and 5 fen, 1, 2 and 5 jiao, 1, 5 and 10 yuan.

Banknotes


Banknotes are available in (issue date):
  • First (1980) edition
    • ¥0.1 (9/22/1988),
    • ¥0.2 (5/10/1988 – 2004),
    • ¥0.5 (4/27/1987),
    • ¥1 (5/10/1988),
    • ¥2 (5/10/1988 – 2004),
    • ¥5 (9/22/1988),
    • ¥10 (9/22/1988),
    • ¥50 (4/27/1987), and
    • ¥100 (5/10/1988),
  • Second (1990) edition
    • ¥1 (3/1/1995),
    • ¥2 (4/10/1996 – 2004),
    • ¥50 (8/20/1992), and
    • ¥100 (8/20/1992),
  • Third (1996) edition
    • ¥1 (4/1/1997),


All of the banknotes that are ¥1 or higher feature geographical features of China
Geography of China
China stretches some across the East Asian landmass bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam in a changing configuration of broad plains, expansive deserts, and lofty mountain ranges, including vast areas of inhospitable terrain...

 on the reverse side.

On the obverse side, banknotes less or equal to ¥10 feature different ethnicities of China. 1-jiao note has Gaoshan and Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

 men ; 2-jiao note has Buyei
Buyei
The Buyei are an ethnic group living in southern mainland China. Numbering 2.5 million, they are the 11th largest of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China...

 and Korean
Korean people
The Korean people are an ethnic group originating in the Korean peninsula and Manchuria. Koreans are one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogeneous groups in the world.-Names:...

 girls; 5-jiao note has Miao and Zhuang girls in red. 1-yuan note has Dong
Dong people
The Dong , a Kam–Sui people of southern China, are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. They are famed for their native-bred Kam Sweet Rice , carpentry skills, and unique architecture, in particular a form of covered bridge known as the "wind and rain...

 and Yao
Yao people
The Yao nationality is a government classification for various minorities in China. They form one of the 55 ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China, where they reside in the mountainous terrain of the southwest and south...

 girls in red;
2-yuan note has Uyghur
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 and Yi (Nuosu)
Yi people
The Yi or Lolo people are an ethnic group in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Numbering 8 million, they are the seventh largest of the 55 ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China...

 girls in green; 5-yuan note has Tibetan
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

 girl and a Hui
Hui people
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.In modern People's...

 elder; 10-yuan note has Han
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 and Mongol
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 men.

The ¥50 note features an intellectual, a farmer, and an industrial worker, characteristic Chinese communist images.

The ¥100 note features four people important to the founding the People's Republic of China: Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

, Liu Shaoqi
Liu Shaoqi
Liu Shaoqi was a Chinese revolutionary, statesman, and theorist. He was Chairman of the People's Republic of China, China's head of state, from 27 April 1959 to 31 October 1968, during which he implemented policies of economic reconstruction in China...

, and Zhu De
Zhu De
Zhu De was a Chinese militarist, politician, revolutionary, and one of the pioneers of the Chinese Communist Party. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1955 Zhu became one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army, of which he is regarded as the founder.-Early...

.

Coins carry the Emblem of the People's Republic of China, the full title of the state in Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 and pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

 on the obverse side, and the denomination and an image of a flower on the reverse side.

Communist control


The various Soviets under the control of China's communists issued coins between 1931 and 1935, and banknotes between 1930 and 1949. Some of the banknotes were denominated in ch'uan, strings of wén coins. The People's Bank was founded in 1948 and began issuing currency that year, but some of the regional banks continued to issue their own notes in to 1949.

After the defeat of Japan in 1945, the Central Bank of China issued a separate currency in the northeast to replace those issued by the puppet banks. Termed "東北九省流通券" (pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

:Dōngběi jiǔ shěng liútōngquàn), it was worth 20 of the yuan which circulated in the rest of the country. It was replaced in 1948 by the gold yuan at a rate of 150,000 north-eastern yuan = 1 gold yuan. In 1945, notes were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan. 500 yuan notes were added in 1946, followed by 1000 and 2000 yuan in 1947 and 5000 and 10,000 yuan in 1948.

Various, mostly crude coins were produced by the Soviets. Some only issued silver 1 yuan coins (Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

, Hupeh-Honan-Anhwei, Min-Che-Kan, North Shensi and P'ing Chiang) whilst the Hsiang-O-Hsi Soviet only issued copper 1 fen coins and the Wan-Hsi-Pei Soviet issued only copper 50 wén coins. The Chinese Soviet Republic issued copper 1 and 5 fen and silver 2 jiao and 1 yuan coins. The Szechuan-Shensi Soviet issued copper 200 and 500 wén and silver 1 yuan coins.

Notes were produced by many different banks. There were two phases of note production. The first, up until 1936, involved banks in a total of seven areas, most of which were organized as Soviets. These were:
Area Start year End year Denominations
Chinese Soviet Republic 1933 1936 1 fen
5 fen
1 jiao
2 jiao
5 jiao
1 yuan
2 yuan
3 yuan
Hunan-Hubei-Jiangsi 1931 1933 1 jiao
2 jiao
3 jiao
5 jiao
1 yuan
Northwest Anwei 1932 2 jiao
5 jiao
1 yuan
5 yuan
Fujian-Chekiang-Kiangsi 1932 1934 10 wén
1 jiao
2 jiao
5 jiao
1 yuan
10 yuan
Hubei 1930 1932 1 ch'uan
2 ch'uan
10 ch'uan
1 ch'uan
2 ch'uan
5 jiao
1 yuan
P'ing Chiang 1931 1 jiao
2 jiao
Sichuan-Shensi 1932 1933 1 ch'uan
2 ch'uan
3 ch'uan
5 ch'uan
10 ch'uan


Production of banknotes by communist forces ceased in 1936 but resumed in 1938 and continued through to the centralization of money production in 1948. A great many regional banks and other entities issued notes. Before 1942, denominations up to 100 yuan were issued. That year, the first notes up to 1000 yuan appeared. Notes up to 5000 yuan appeared in 1943, with 10,000 yuan notes appearing in 1947, 50,000 yuan in 1948 and 100,000 yuan in 1949.
As the communist forces took control of most of China, they introduced a new currency, in banknote form only, denominated in yuan. This became the sole currency of mainland China at the end of the civil war
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

.

A new yuan was introduced in 1955 at a rate of 10,000 old yuan = 1 new yuan. It is known as the renminbi yuan
Renminbi
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

.
In 1946, a new currency was introduced for circulation in Taiwan, replacing the Japanese issued Taiwan yen
Taiwan yen
The yen was the currency of Taiwan, between 1895 and 1946. It was on a par with and circulated alongside the Japanese yen. The yen was subdivided into 100 sen .-History:...

. It was not directly related to the mainland yuan.
In 1949, a second yuan was introduced in Taiwan, replacing the first at a rate of 40,000 to 1. This is the currency of Taiwan today.

Connection with US dollar


Originally, a silver yuan had the same specifications as a silver dollar. During the Republican era
History of the Republic of China
The History of the Republic of China begins after the Qing Dynasty in 1912, when the formation of the Republic of China put an end to over two thousand years of Imperial rule. The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, ruled from 1644 to 1912...

 (1911–1949), the English transliteration "yuan" was often printed on the reverse of the first yuan banknotes but sometimes "dollar" was used instead.

In the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, the common English name is the "New Taiwan dollar" but banknotes issued between 1949 and 1956 used "yuan" as the English transliteration. More modern notes lack any English text.

Regional currency


To reduce using US Dollar and make Yuan widely used beyond its borders as Regional currency, China plans to sign an agreement with all of 10-member of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to settle trade in Yuan. ASEAN is China's third-biggest trading partner. In 2009, China initialized for some provinces to export and import in Yuan with counterparties in any countries. After several stages, China already has swap agreements with 3 of the ASEAN countries: Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Malaysia and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

.

See also


  • Chinese customs gold unit
    Chinese customs gold unit
    The customs gold unit was a currency issued by the Central Bank of China between 1930 and 1948. In Chinese, the name of the currency was 關金圓, literally "customs gold yuan" but the English name given on the back of the notes was "customs gold unit". It was divided into 100 cents...

  • Etymology of the Korean currencies
    Etymology of the Korean currencies
    Won is the currency of both North and South Korea. Won is a cognate of the Chinese currency unit, yuan and the Japanese currency unit, yen, meaning "round object". The won is subdivided into 100 jeon .Yang is a former Korean currency. It is a cognate of the Chinese tael...