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Currency Exchange into Yuan

Exchanging your currency in Shanghai can be advantageous

Yuan RenmimbiThe unit of Chinese currency is the yuan (元 or 圓 in Chinese), or yuan renminbi. One yuan corresponds to 10 jiao or 100 fen, although the subunit fen is no longer used. The word renminbi is usually translated as “people’s currency”, and in abbreviated as RMB.

The yuan is rarely exchanged in Western countries, and although it can be ordered through some banks, one can expect high fees. Inquire at your bank as to the current buying and selling rates, and compare with those of the Bank of China. You can easily exchange for a small amount of yuan at the Pudong Airport, and for larger amounts at lower cost in the Bank of China branches throughout Shanghai. In addition, several of the larger hotels offer this service to their guests. Make sure you have your passport handy when you do currency exchanges and keep the receipts, since in some cases you might need them as evidence if you wish to change back any yuan before your departure.

One can also obtain cash from ATMs in some Chinese banks using a credit card (e.g., MasterCard, Visa), but certain cards might not be accepted in some ATMs, and the menu options can be complicated. If you encounter problems, you can still try your luck with an ATM at another bank.


• The transfer on the maglev train from the airport to Longyang Road Station costs 50 yuan (40 yuan with proof of a booked flight)
• A daily pass on the metro costs less than 20 yuan
• Taxi fare is 11 yuan for the first 3 kilometers, and 2 yuan for each subsequent kilometer
• The entrance fee for most temples and parking garages is between 10 and 30 yuan, while some museums such as the Shanghai Museum are free.
• A guided tour to the highest floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center costs 150 yuan
• A chicken dish in an upscale restaurant costs around 50 yuan, while a noodle dish costs 30 yuan
• A Big Mac costs about 15 yuan
• A mug of beer (0.5 L Tsingtao Draft) in a restaurant or bar costs 20 yuan, and a Carlsberg costs 35 yuan
• A 1 L bottle of Evian costs 10 yuan in a store, while Chinese mineral water goes for 1 yuan.
• A 0.33 L bottle of Pepsi or Cola in a store costs 5 yuan

With an exchange rate of 1 US dollar = 6.3 yuan in January, 2013, prices were about one-third to one-half of the customary prices in the US.