What is the Chinese Currency Called?

The Renminbi 人民币 (rén mín bì) is the official currency of the People’s Republic of China. Often referred to simply as ‘RMB,’ this currency was introduced by the Communist party in 1949 and translates to ‘the People’s Currency.’ To date, the most commonly used RMB banknotes are 0.5, one, five, ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred, though 0.1, 0.2 and two RMB banknotes can be found from time to time. Chinese currency also includes three coins: 0.1, 0.5 and one RMB. For anyone studying, traveling or working in China, remember that banks generally hand out one hundred RMB bills, so it’s normal for servers, shop owners or taxi drivers to help give you change.

Chinese RMB Renminbi

If you’re learning Chinese or follow economics, you may also have heard of the yuán 元 or CNY, which measures an RMB unit. Prior to the Republican era, this word was first used to name the silver Spanish dollar coins that circulated in China during the mercantile age. In the language today, it’s common to say that something costs one or one hundred yuan. Other colloquial terms like 块 (kuài) – think of it like the American ‘buck’ or English ‘quid’ – are used daily. For example, a nice meal out for two may cost 一百块 (yì bǎi kuài) or 一百块钱 (yì bǎi kuài qián).



Do you want to know the current exchange rate? This link will provide you with the current value of 1 US Dollar to Chinese RMB.


 

Vocabulary:

Hànzì pīnyīn Definition
1. 人民币 rén mín bì RMB, China’s official currency
2. yuán CNY, one unit of RMB
3. 一百块 yì bǎi kuài one hundred yuan
4. 一百块钱 yì bǎi kuài qián one hundred yuan (literally. one hundred dollars money)
5. kuài colloquial word for yuan
6. jiǎo 1/10 of one yuan (written use)
7. máo 1/10 of one yuan (colloquial use)
8. fēn 1/100 of one yuan
9. qián money
10. 零钱 líng qián small change
11. 便宜 pián yi cheap
12. guì expensive
13. 现金 xiànjīn cash

 

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