Did you know? The renminbi (RMB) literally translates to mean “the people’s currency”, while the yuan(CNY) means “dollar” in Chinese.
What’s the difference between the Renminbi and Yuan?

  • Renminbi is China’s official currency
  • Yuan is a unit in the renminbi currency

Hence, it would be incorrect in Chinese to say something costs 100 renminbi – it should be 100 yuan instead. Just think of the pound vs. sterling.

However, most locals in China more commonly use the colloquial term of kuài (块) instead, which means “piece” – similar to “buck” and “quid”. So you can say “100 kuài”, which means “100 pieces of money”.

Here’s the full break down:

  • 1 yuán (元) or 1 kuài (块) = 1 dollar
  • 1 jiǎo (角) or 1 máo (毛) = 10 cents
  • 1 fēn (分) = 1 cent

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