Thursday, March 31, 2005

Get Real Paid

Originally uploaded by billmcgonigle.
The title to this entry was almost: "Its All About the Maos, Baby. Uhh. Uh-huh. Yeah."

Today was my first payday. As the photo is there to help illustrate, I get paid in cash, which is a bit odd, because then I'm walking around with a huge wad of dough all day until I can get home and put it someplace safe.

Everything about the money system here is in the midst of change. First off, lets start with the basics. The Yuan (or, informally, "kuai") is the base denomination, like the dollar. One tenth of a yuan is a mao (or "jiao") and one tenth of that is a fen. Eight Yuan is roughly equal to US $1, which makes a mao worth about $.012, and the fen practically worthless. You'll hardly see any fen floating around in modern China.

In the picture you'll see my hand full of 100 Y bills. Oddly enough, the 100 Y bill did not exist a few years ago. In fact, the largest denomination in 1987 (approx, I'm getting this hear-say) was the 10 Y note. But as the economy has exploded since then, the government found the need for larger denominations, and now they got 'em.

The 100 Y note is pretty common, often counterfeited, and rather annoying to make change for. Its similar to the $20 bill in all these senses.

Who be dippin in the Benz with the spoilers?


Anyways, most everything still works in cash here. I've seen maybe one credit card machine in a store being used since I arrived. I think I mentioned this before, but it still weirds me out when I see people forking over hundreds in cash, if not thousands, for certain purchases.

I don't know what the bank system is like, or if the common Chinaman will even use it. In Beijing I did see a lot of people using ATMs, but I havent even seen an ATM in Harbin. I've talked to my Chinese staff about getting a bank account, since I don't like the idea of holding onto my cash for fear of spending/losing/eating it, and they all just stare at me like I'm some sort of stupid White Man speaking gibberish. None of them can fathom why I'd want to use a bank.

Seven zeros, over in Rio Dijanery.


I feel like the issue of China's economy will be one of the frequently visited themes in this blog. If anyone out there has any questions about anything in particular, just email me and I'll address them ASAP if I have something to say.

Uh-huh, yeah.


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