Chinese Money: Yuan

Chinese money is called yuan (元 yuán). One yuan (show photo) is pronounced yī yuán (一元). (Image:  China Gaze/Screenshot)
Chinese money is called yuan (元 yuán). One yuan (show photo) is pronounced yī yuán (一元). (Image: China Gaze/Screenshot)

Chinese money is called yuan (元, simplified or 圓, traditional yuán). One yuan (show photo) is pronounced yī yuán (一元). It refers to one note of paper money, as well as referring to the one yuan coin.

Regarding Chinese paper notes, there are also the 5 yuan (伍元 wǔ yuán), 10 yuan (shí yuán), 20 yuan (二十元 èrshí yuán), 50 yuan (十元 shí yuán), and 100 yuan (一百元 yībǎi yuán) notes. The largest paper note is the 100 yuan note. There are no 500 yuan or 1000 yuan notes.

Although credit and debit cards are popular, it is still common practice in China today to buy items with cash. Since the highest notes are only 100 yuan, most people have to carry a large stack of paper notes for large transactions.

Watch our calligraphy video to learn how to write the Chinese character for yuan:

Financial numbers                          Normal numbers

1                                                                   一

5          伍                                                       

10                                                               

20                                                            

50                                                          

100                                                         一

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