The Chinese invented the first paper money in the ninth century. Earlier there was a rustic bartering system in place.
This paper money or Flying Money was a precursor of the widely circulated and highly effective Mongolian Silk Notes of 1294. Highly impressed Marco Polo had written whole chapters on this unique concept. The Ming Dynasty issued paper money called Precious Note of Great Ming in around 1375. However unlike the silk notes, the circulation of Chinese currency was not handled efficiently, creating enormous inflation. Ironically, Paper money officially returned to China under the European Influence.
Chinese currency is Renminbi which is abbreviated as RMB. The People's Republic of China officially first issued the Renminbi, i.e. People's Currency in December 1948. More popularly known as RMB, the new Chinese currency was meant to control the super inflation that happened in the post-Kuomintang era. The basic unit is commonly known as the New Yuan or Renminbi Yuan, Yuan literally mean round in Chinese. The symbol is ¥.
¥.1 Yuan is known as 1 Jiao.
¥.01 Yuan is known as 1 Fen.
Initially, the value of Chinese currency RMB was absurdly high in comparison to the US Dollar. After strict control and check, according to current approximation, 1 USD is equal to 6.83 RMB.
The Chinese currency i.e. RMB bank notes has been issued five times since 1948. The Bank notes have a picture of Chairman Mao Zedong and the text Zhongguo Renmin Yinhang on them.
The people's Bank of China introduced the first series of Chinese currency during the Chinese Civil War in December 1948. The bank notes ranged from ¥1 to ¥50000 in 12 denominations and 62 designs. These Bank notes are now obsolete and have been withdrawn. In 1955, the second series of Chinese currency was introduced. The valuation of the earlier series changed, whereby a ¥10000 bank note from the first series was equivalent to a ¥1 in the new series. The denomination was also printed in Uygur, Tibetan and Mongolian Languages. There were 11 dominations from ¥0.01 to ¥10. The third series was introduced in 1962, there were 7 denominations introduced from ¥0.1 to ¥10. The third series has also been completely phased out. The fourth series was introduced in phases from 1987 to 1997. There were 9 denominations with new banknotes in ¥50 and ¥100. There were also new coins in the denominations of ¥0.1, ¥0.5 and ¥1. The fifth series introduced in 1999 is currently in circulation. The largest denomination is the ¥100 note and the smallest coin having a value of ¥0.1. The new banknotes have pictures of Deng Xiaoping, Sun Yet-sen and Chiang Kai-shek along with Mao Zedong.
From 1979 onwards, China minted special Chinese currency coins to celebrate the New Year. The coins usually feature a famous Chinese monument on one side and the appropriate animal from the Chinese zodiac on the reverse.