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Money and duty free for China

Currency and Money

Currency information

1 Renminbi Yuan (CNY; symbol ¥) = 10 jiao/mao or 100 fen. Notes are in denominations of ¥100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 1, 5 jiao and 1 jiao. Coins are in denominations of ¥1, 5 jiao and 1 jiao. Counterfeit ¥50 and ¥100 notes are commonplace. The Yuan is often referred to as the ‘guai’ in street slang.

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in major provincial cities in designated establishments. Credit cards are often unlikely to be accepted away from the major cities.


ATMs can generally be found in airports, hotels, shopping centres and banks, as well as in many major cities and towns.

Travellers cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1600/1700. Some banks close for lunch from 1200-1300. Select branches in major cities offer extended hours in the evenings and on weekends.

Currency restrictions

Imports and exports of local currency are limited to ¥20,000. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited, but amounts exceeding the equivalent of US$5,000 must be declared.

Currency exchange

It is possible to exchange CNY outside China, albeit mainly in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. Foreign banknotes and traveller's cheques can be exchanged at branches of The Bank of China. In hotels for tourists, imported luxury items such as spirits may be bought with Western currency. Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes cannot be exchanged.

China duty free


The following items may be imported into China without incurring customs duty by foreigners:

• Less than 400 cigarettes and 100 cigars and 500g of tobacco.
• Less than 1,500ml of alcoholic beverages with 12% or more alcoholic content.
• Personal articles under the value of ¥5,000.
• Personal articles which will be left in China under the value of ¥2,000.

Banned Imports

Banned import items include:
• Arms, imitation arms, ammunition and explosives of all kinds.
• Counterfeit currencies and counterfeit negotiable securities.
• Printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and video tapes, compact discs (video and audio), storage media for computers and other articles which are detrimental to the political, economic, cultural and moral interests of China.
• Deadly poison of all kinds.
• Opium, morphine, heroin, marihuana and other addictive drugs and psychotropic substances.
• Fruits, solanaceae vegetables, live animals (except dogs and cats as pet), animal products, pathogenic micro-organisms of animals and plants, pests and other harmful organisms, animal carcasses, soil, genetically modified organisms, relevant animals and plants, their products and other objects subject to quarantine from countries or regions with prevalent epidemic animal or plant diseases.
• Foodstuff, medicine and other articles coming from epidemic stricken area or harmful to man and livestock or those which might spread disease.

Banned Exports

Banned exports include:
• All articles enumerated as articles prohibited from Importation.
• Manuscripts, printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and video-tapes, compact discs (video and audio), storage media for computers and other articles which involve state secrets.
• Valuable cultural relics.
• Endangered and precious rare animals and plants (including their specimens), their seeds and reproducing materials.

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