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Chinese Currency

Currency and Exchange

Most major currencies can be exchanged into Chinese money which is called Renminbi or "people's money." The basic unit is called Yuan or colloquially known as the kuai. One is divided into10 jiao, which is also called a mao. One is further divided into 10 fen. Foreign currency can be exchanged at airports, border crossings, tourist hotels, some large shopping centers and major branches of Bank of China. Exchange rates are subject to change so it's best to check your local bank or the many websites that offer conversion information.

Traveler's Check

Hotels in China accept traveler™s checks from their guests and the exchange rate is slightly higher than cash. Large Bank of China branches also accept them, though it's convenient to do so at the airport upon arrival. You'll need to keep exchange receipts if you plan on exchanging back into the original currency. If your checks are issued from a major company, there shouldn't be a problem in cashing them. If you are uncertain, check with the hotel beforehand.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in China but are still the domain of upscale venues. Some places advertise with the Visa logo but only accept Chinese cards; ask if they accept international cards. Cash advances are also possible but only at major Bank of China locations where a commission and a minimum amount is usually stipulated.


Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are found throughout large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, though more are appearing elsewhere. Airports, large banks and some hotels have ATMs that spit out RMB directly. There is a maximum daily withdrawal limit. Cirrus, MasterCard, Visa and American Express are among the accepted credit cards and Hong Kong and Macau have a number of others. It's not a good idea to completely rely on ATMs,as they are prone to disrepair.