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China's rolling out redesigned banknotes starting this August

Interesting news for the handful of people out there still using cash

Images: People's Bank of China; artwork: Janelle Chew
News for those of us who still use cash rather than WeChat or Alipay: last week the People's Bank of China announced it will be releasing new bills for 50, 20, 10 and 1RMB notes starting August 30. The 1, 0.5 and 0.1RMB coins will be getting an upgrade as well.

The new designs aren't all that different from the current ones and feature modest redesigns of the vignettes we're familiar with, plus the year 2019 and a few other minor adjustments. The more noticeable changes that will be added include security features like Omron rings – a specific pattern of symbols – and a vertical serial number on the right-hand side of the bills to make them harder to counterfeit.

20 kuai note, renminzhengxiebu (cropped)
Image: People's Consultative Network (1999 banknote)

20 kuai note, PBOC
Image: People's Bank of China (2019 banknote)


Image: People's Bank of China

Given that you can use your smartphone to pay the bills pretty much everywhere in the city, from jianbing vendors to wet markets, chances are these changes aren't going to be met with anything more than a collective shrug from the masses. Still, better safe than sorry.

By Christopher House

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