Chinese Money and Counting

Chinese currency is based on the decimal system, and consists of paper money and coins. The smallest coin is 1 fen, 10 fen make up a jiao (also called mao) and 10 jiao (or mao) make up a yuan. Paper money comes in six denominations - 5 jiao, 1 yuan, 2 yuan, 50 yuan, and 100 yuan.
Because ordinary Chinese numbers are easy to write, and therefore easy to forge, a different set of Chinese characters is used for numbers on banknotes and other financial dealings. Compare the two columns of numbers to the left.
As in most countries, the pictures on Chinese currency have a political message. Portraits appear on the front of the currency. Pictures of famous Chinese scenery such as the Great Wall appear on the reverse side.
The 100 yuan note has pictures of four of the founders of the People's Republic of China. From right to left these are: Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, and Zhu De.



Count With Your Fingers - Chinese Style!

  • Who would have thought it was possible to count up to one hundred thousand, just on one hand?
  • The Ancient Chinese did!
  • In this system, each successive finger represents an increase of one in the power of ten, allowing numbers up to ten to the power of five!
  • When both hands were used, the Chinese could add, subtract, multiply and divide, only using their fingers!
  • Now that's clever!






Fun Facts

 I would like to thank Steven I. Levine for being so supportive and allowing me to use this site.  He also sent my class a complimentary China Box.   Thank you, again, Steven.