Money and duty free for China
Currency and Money
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.
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.
To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.
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.
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.
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:
• 400 cigarettes and 100 cigars and 500g of tobacco.
• 1500ml of alcoholic beverages with 12% or more alcoholic content.
• Personal articles to a value of ¥5,000 or above for Chinese residents.
• Personal articles which will be left in China up to a value of ¥2,000 for non-residents.
Arms and ammunition, imitation arms, narcotics, deadly poison, fruit, animals and animal products, and any publication (print, audio or video) directed against the public order and the morality of China, food, medicine and other articles coming from epidemic stricken area or harmful to man and livestock or those which might spread disease.
Customs officials may seize audio and videotapes, books, records and CDs to check for pornographic, political or religious material. You must complete baggage declaration forms upon arrival noting all valuables (such as cameras, watches and jewellery); this may be checked on departure. You should keep receipts for items such as jewellery, jade, handicrafts, paintings, calligraphy or other similar items in order to obtain an export certificate from the authorities on leaving. Without this documentation, you cannot take such items out of the country.
All articles banned from export as well as publications or media containing state secrets, valuable cultural artefacts, and endangered/rare animals and plants (and their seeds).