06 December 2010

RMB, Yuan and Kwai?

Is RMB and Yuan the same thing? Also what is it about Kwai? When I was in China people seemed to talk about these terms interchangably.

No name

Dear confused

RMB Yuan and even sometimes the Yen sign ¥ are all Chinese money.

RMB is the actual currency and it is the short form of Ren Min Bi. Money of the people, or people's money however you want it. This is the defacto currency of China, RMB are proxy US$ btw due to the peg against the US$.

A or a unit of Yuan is the base units for RMB - just as Dollar in USD. This is the currency system in China:

分 Fen cent (pennies for my British readers)

圆 Yuan dollar

So Yuan and RMB is not always the same (as Yuan is just one of the currency units in RMB), but they can often be used interchangeably. 2500 RMB and 2500 Yuan is exactly the same amount of money.

What confuses the issue is some people will say Kwai, which means a unit of money, which is again inter changeable with RMB and Yuan. This isn't really different to other countries tbh. In that the UK currency is Sterling, which is divided into pounds and pennies. It used to be divided into more when we had a base 12 currency crowns, half crowns, sovereigns. But today we talk about British money in the form of pounds, pahnd (for Londoners), quids, somolians, clams, scores, fivers, tenners, bob, cheese etc. And China is no different. My dad being wealthier than myself talks about bits of water. Which are units of 100 of where ever he happens to be. He was pretty impressed when he was in Korea when he was give 10000KRW spending money. Which happened to be £2.


  1. "Kuai" is like "Buck," right? A technically easier way to refer to one currency unit.