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China's rolling out redesigned banknotes starting this August

News for those of us who still use cash rather than WeChat or Alipay

Images: courtesy 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 the 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. They feature modest redrawings of the vignettes we're familiar with, the year 2019 and 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: courtesy People's Consultative Network (1999 banknote)

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


Image: courtesy 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 flower markets, chances are these changes aren't going to be met with a collective sigh of relief from the masses. Still, better safe than sorry.

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