Did the ancient Chinese move

Name China's national currency correctly: yuan, renminbi or kuai

China's currency moves the world markets. Between “hair”, “lump” and “national monetary unit” one wonders: What is the correct name of the means of payment?

What are the names of the money? In China there are quite a few expressions for their own currency Photo: dpa

Until recently, hardly anyone in this country had thought about how to correctly denote the Chinese currency. What for? Was it just a question of a means of payment in a distant country that was not tradable internationally anyway?

That has changed since more and more countries no longer trade with China in dollars, but in the Chinese currency. But what's her name right now? Sounds pretty simple to the German ear Yuan? Or, to pronounce it more complicated, Renminbi?

In fact, the Chinese have quite a few names for their national currency. The term yuan is incorrect, it simply denotes a unit of currency. In international parlance, however, this designation has established itself, its official abbreviation is CNY (Chinese Yuan).

The official name is Renminbi - translated: national monetary unit. In China, however, hardly anyone uses this expression in everyday life, it only occurs in the stock exchange or when it comes to the Chinese currency in the context of an economic debate among communist cadres.

Euros and dollars are just lumps too

But the term yuan is not really in use either. Only those who ask for the invoice amount in an upscale restaurant will receive the price in yuan from the polite waiter. Because polite Chinese hold on to old traditions: Between 1889 and 1949 the national currency was actually called the yuan.

Anyone who haggles over the price of a cucumber or a banana with the market woman, on the other hand, speaks of Kuai. But this is not an official currency designation at all, it simply means piece or lump. This word is also not tied to the Chinese currency. Chinese people who live in Europe use kuai as the name for the euro, in the US it is the dollar. The name can best be compared with Moneten or Coal.

It gets even more complicated when it comes to the further subdivision of Chinese money. In addition to yuan, there is still Jiao and Fen. 10 Jiao equals 1 Yuan, 1 Jiao equals 10 Fen. In everyday life, however, Jiao is not used, but Mao. This is by no means due to Chairman Mao Tse-tung, who is still officially revered in China, who is depicted on the front of all banknotes, Mao only means hair. Nobody is talking about fen these days. Nobody wants such cents anymore.

Another term has recently become established in the English-speaking world: Redback alluding to the red 100 yuan notes with the Mao emblem in contrast to the greenback, the US dollar. It is an allusion to which currency will be in charge in the future.