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Key Chinese Currencies in Circulation

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What: There are four primary currencies used in China: the Chinese Renminbi (used in Mainland China), the Hong Kong Dollar, the Macau Pataca, and the New Taiwan Dollar.

Why: When doing business in one or more regions in China, it’s important to understand the differences and distinctions among the four primary currencies used in China and across its special administrative regions and jurisdictions of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.


Unlike most countries, there are four currencies used in China: the Chinese Renminbi (used in Mainland China), the Hong Kong Dollar, the Macau Pataca, and the New Taiwan Dollar. As a small or medium business seeking to do business in China, it’s important that you understand the various currencies currently in circulation in China, as each is indexed against separate exchange rates, and typically are not interchangeable across these four primary administrative jurisdictions.  

China’s currencies: A breakdown

Renminbi

The currency used in Mainland China by the vast majority of the country’s population (upwards of 97% of the country’s 1.4 billion people), the Renminbi translates as “the people’s currency.” This is the principal currency in Beijing, China’s capital, and the principal currency in Shanghai, one of China’s most important economic and cultural cities.

  • Usage: Mainland China

  • Chinese name: 人民币

  • Currency code: CNY

  • Monetary authority: People’s Bank of China

  • Also referred to as: RMB, Chinese Yuan

Hong Kong Dollar

The primary currency used in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, is the Hong Kong Dollar. Approximately 0.5%, or 7.4 million people, use the Hong Kong dollar.

  • Usage: Hong Kong

  • Chinese name: 港元

  • Currency code: HKD

  • Monetary authority: Hong Kong Monetary Authority

  • Notes issued by: HSBC, Standard Chartered, Bank of China

Macau Pataca

Macau, also a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, uses the Macau Pataca as its primary currency. Comparably its circulation is tiny: only 0.04% of the total population of Greater China uses the Macau Pataca.

  • Usage: Macau

  • Chinese name: 澳門元

  • Currency code: MOP

  • Monetary authority: Monetary Authority of Macau

  • Notes issued by: Banco Nacional Ultramarino, Bank of China

New Taiwan Dollar

Taiwan, the self-governing island to Mainland China’s southeastern corner, uses the New Taiwan Dollar as its primary currency. It is used by 1.64% of Greater China’s population, or approximately 23.7 million people.

  • Usage: Taiwan

  • Chinese name: 新台幣

  • Currency code: TWD

  • Monetary Authority: Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

  • Also known as: Taiwan Dollar

Nuna Network remains the partner of choice for small- and medium-sized businesses seeking guidance in researching, developing, and launching relationships with companies in China. We are your go-to resource for valuable information in navigating the sometimes complex landscape of business operations in China.

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Background on ChinaDavid