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CNY - Chinese Yuan



The Chinese Yuan is the latest currency in a very colorful history. China was one of the first nations on earth to create currency to take the place of barter. The first coins, made from bronze and cast into molds, were made around the 4th century BC in central China. These coins had a round hole in the middle so that they could be kept on strings. Nearly a century later the first emperor of China, Shi Huangdi, changed that to a square hole. The design did not change for the next 2,000 years.

Before the Yuan, China experimented with paper money around 910 AD during the five dynasties period. The famous explorer Marco Polo marveled at the paper currency, stating that the emperor could print enough money to buy all the goods in the world at no cost to himself. Paper money was also used in Szechwan, an area that experienced frequent copper shortages and reverted to a currency based on iron.

Much later, in 1889, the Yuan was introduced as a silver coin derived from the Spanish dollar (peso). The peso had been widely circulated in South East Asia since the 1600’s because of the Spanish presence in nearby Guam and the Philippines. The Yuan replaced copper cash and silver ingots called sycees. Around that same time the Yuan was also issued in banknotes.

In 1903 the government started issuing other coins in the Yuan currency system. These were brass 1 cash, copper coins in the denominations of 2, 5, 10 and 20 and silver coins in 1, 2, and 5 cash. The sizes of the coins and metals used did not change after the revolution but stayed the same until the 1930’s when nickel and aluminum coins were introduced.

The modern Chinese Yuan is also called the Renminbi (RMB) which translates as “the peoples’ currency”. The Chinese first issued Communist Party’s People’s Bank of China it in December of 1948. At that time, China was involved in a civil war between the Communist Party and the Nationalists. At the close of that conflict the communists won the mainland and had to address the high inflation the country’s economy was saddled with. Thus, 1955 a second series of Yuan was issued that replaced the old Yuan at a rate of 10,000 old Yuan to one new Yuan. The economy was stabilized and the country entered a new age with high hopes.

Currency Profile

The currency abbreviation for the China Yuan Renminbi (CNY), the general term for the currency of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The renminbi (or yuan) is made up of 10 jiao and 100 fen and is often either abbreviated as RMB, or presented with the symbol ¥. Renminbi is issued by the People's Bank of China, which is controlled by the PRC. The yuan is issued in banknote (bills) multiples of one, five, 10, 20, 50 and 100.

The Chinese definition of renminbi is "people's currency". There have been several series of renminbi issued since the 1950s, each of which has its own banknotes and coins. The fourth series of renminbi is still legal tender today, with the prior series having been phased out. It is not a free-floating currency system; it is managed (by the PRC) through a floating exchange rate. Previously, it was pegged directly to the U.S. dollar.

The renminbi (and its management by the People's Bank) figures to play an important role in the global economy during the 21st Century, as China is the most populous nation in the world and is just beginning to solidify its economic infrastructure.

For latest updates on currency rankings, most popular currency exchanges, currency codes and currency converter; simply log on to for best Chinese Yuan Renminbi exchange rates at your doorstep. Enter your requirement and watch the money changers compete with each other to give you the best rate.
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