China Money - China Bank accounts - Credit Debit Cards in China - ATM's in China - China currency conversion and regulations.

China Money - Foreign Currency in China

The currency of the People's Republic of China, issued by the People's Bank of China, is the Renminbi
(RMB, or currency abbreviation CNY, China Yuan)
The monetary unit of Renminbi in China is Yuan, the fractional unit known as Jiao. One Yuan is divided into ten Jiao.
Informally in China, the Yuan is called Kuai and the Jiao is called Mao.
The currency in circulation has ten kinds of value, 1, 2, 5 Jiao and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 Yuan.
Cash is more popular in China than Western countries. It is important to always carry enough cash and change to meet your daily petty spending i.e. buses, taxis, small items of shopping, restaurants etc.

China Bank Account

Foreigners can readily open bank accounts in China.
It was my understanding until recently that this must be a Bank of China account in the first instance. Apparently now, you can open an account at any bank. 
Most city branches, though not all will have an English speaking member of staff.
A passport will be required with a photocopy of visa page and information page and a small or large amount to deposit. A bank book can be issued with a bank card, you may need to ask for this.
Deposits can be made in various currencies such as RMB, US Dollars, Euros or UK Pounds. At some bank locations it is possible to deposit using the ATM.
Withdrawals must be in the same currency as the deposit.
Although it is possible to convert up to a maximum of 50,000 US dollars or equivalent in any one year into RMB.

Credit Cards, Debit Cards and ATM's

I have been asked many times if Credit and Debit cards can be used in China.
The simple answer is YES, in most cities.
The Credit card is becoming ever more acceptable in China, especially the main major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen. With the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, this year, this will also increase the number of outlets accepting Credit Cards.
ATM's happily accept Debit cards. I use Bank of China ATM's only.
Although your card will be chip and pin you will in nearly all cases be asked to 'sign for', do not let it out of your sight.
The main foreign Credit cards used in China are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, more are available. Check with your card issuer for usability in China.
If the symbols and logos of your Credit card or Debit card are shown on the ATMs, then it can be used to withdraw money.
They can be used in the majority of the larger hotels and some larger shops but not all cards will be accepted, in my experience VISA appears to be the most readily recognised and accepted.
Before you leave for China, notify your bank (for Debit card) and the credit card company that you will be in China on given dates. They should then flag your account and hopefully you will not have to many problems arising.
You may still find though on your first attempt at using in a shop or hotel it will be declined with the message 'refer to provider'.
Do not panic just phone your Bank or card company at your earliest.
Always have your card and bank contact phone numbers to hand and also the numbers to report lost or stolen cards.
In the Department stores Credit cards are preferred. There are numerous 'pay' counters scattered around where you pay for your purchases, these vary in what they will accept, it is worth pointing out to the sales assistant that you will be paying by International card, she will then direct you to the correct counter. Internet connections are variable and often slow in China and as these transactions require Internet connection, sometimes, you will not be able to use your card.

In summary, Larger Hotels, Department stores and restaurants will in most cases accept International Credit cards and ATM's will accept Debit cards and above all never let the card out of your sight.
Different banks have different limits on the sum that can be withdrawn from their ATM. Most allow a maximum withdrawal of 20,000 Yuan if the withdrawal is directly from a China bank account and 2000/2500 RMB if drawn from a foreign Credit or Debit card in any 24 hour period.
When the ATM's are empty of cash no indication is normally given, only that withdrawal was declined.
This can sometimes give a feeling of panic, don't worry, try another Bank of China ATM.

Worth noting. The reaction you might receive in smaller shops.
They will at first appear to accept your card and go through the process of purchase. It is usually at this point the machine will reject the transaction as the shop is not allowed to accept international transactions (only domestic transactions)
It is possible that the shop staff have never encountered this issue before and it will throw them into panic, probably resulting in your card being passed from one to another. Do not let it out of your sight.
It is likely at this time a member of staff will offer to walk you to the nearest ATM to draw cash - My advice - Don't.
At this point it would be wise to take your card and try elsewhere, maybe a larger department store for your purchase or return later with cash.

Currency Conversion

Foreign currency and traveller's cheque exchange services are available in most of China's cities, in the banks, hotels, airports and even the shopping centres.
All the main banks in China, Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction bank and Agriculture Bank of China have money exchange facilities.
Bank of China can exchange the following Euro, British Pound, US Dollar, Swiss Franc, Singapore Dollar, Swedish Krona, Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, Philippine Peso, Thailand Baht, HK Dollar, New Taiwan Dollar and Macau Pataca to name a few.
Some of the other banks only accept certain kinds of foreign currencies, you will need to check.
When exchanging foreign currency, a valid passport is required.
Remember to keep the receipt as you will need to show this if you need to convert the RMB back into your own currency at any time.
You may find money changers on the street, normally outside popular banks, do not use them, one, it is illegal and two, often the money they have for exchange is counterfeit or illegal tender.

China Currency Regulations

Tourists are allowed to bring in any quantity of traveller's cheques and or debit credit cards.
Only 5,000 US dollars or equivalent in cash or 20,000 RMB in cash is permitted on any one visit.
This is not to say that it is impossible to bring more, you will most certainly need to justify any excess and it must be declared at China Customs.

How much money can I transfer into China?

First of all, lets be clear, we are talking foreign currency transfer and foreign currency from a personal point of view. Business is a very different proposition.
With property purchase being the main reason to bring the large sums of foreign currency in on a personal level. Be it for purchase in your own name, jointly or another's.
The rules are quite simple and straightforward:-
First the simple bit, 50,000 American dollars or the equivalent in your own country currency in value in any one year, this is the maximum allowed amount of currency that can be converted into RMB. This is a Banking rule.
Now, there are exceptions whether official or not they do exist.
If you can prove it is essential (to purchase a property for instance of a value over the 50,000 threshold or alternatively it might be for the fitting out expense. It could also be for something like medical expense) to have more funds available in the one year duration period then your application may be successful.
This is by far the most sensible solution, the official way, as one consideration that needs to be thought about is the future? - What happens if you need to sell and get your money out and back to home country, it will be a lot easier if you have all the original official papers, in your name.

It is important to understand that it is at the currency exchange that any issues arise, by this I mean, you can have any amount of your own countries currency transferred into either your own or another's bank account here. It is when you try to convert into RMB that the transaction may be blocked, if you have exceeded the 50,000 dollar limit.
I do know that many have circumvented any restriction by having the excess amount sent directly into a Chinese persons account. But the same rule (50,000 dollar max in any one year) will apply to them also, it's the currency exchange that has the restriction.
Now at present, most get by with maybe two lots of 50,000 but with property prices on the up this may not be enough for much longer.

A further avenue of exploration might be to have the conversion done in your home country and then transfer in RMB. The most obvious disadvantage to this might be the conversion exchange rate.
For further information on living in China 

White Horse Village in China turns into a modern city over a four year period

The BBC has charted the radical redevelopment of a sleepy village in west China, part of the country's economic revolution and progress.
In the first part of this Peabody Award-winning series, Carrie Gracie looks at the way White Horse Village has been affected by China's rapid pace of modernisation. The series has been developed over a four year period up to present day.
Showing the everyday lives of the White Horse Villagers and the issues faced by the local Communist Party Secretary.

Part 1: China's rapid pace of modernisation
Part 2: The final Chinese New Year in the old village
Part 3: Opposition to Communist Party plans for the land
Part 4: The huge upheavals taking place in White Horse Village
Part 5: Changing lives and high prices in a modern city
Part 6: Learning the ways of the modern world

How does an East West marriage fail so quickly?

How does an East West marriage fail so quickly?

Abuse by one partner or the other?
Total Incompatibility?
Foolhardiness, carelessness, inconsideration by one or both partners?
Or just plain stupidity?

Whatever the reasons, the situation would have been exacerbated by the fact that many western men think, quite wrongly, that to choose a bride from where they consider an 'easy pickings' area of the world is an ideal option 'for them'.
After all, the Internet does not lie, the various message boards and dating sites giving out all that mush making it Oh, so easy…finding a life companion…Easy?…I think not!!!

The first meeting, in a kind of 'holiday mode' mentality setting…what could be easier?
We all know the longevity of most holiday romances.
Leg over…Wham Bam, thank you Ma'am. Oh, and I will marry you, just to make it regular…just like I promised…on the Internet !!!
Of course the girl will agree, all she hears about is how much better life is if she marries a westerner.
Over the fence or across the water, the grass is always so much greener…not!

No hassle, no fuss, no traditional courtship. No long drawn out 'getting to know you properly' routine. Getting to know all those little annoying details that cause the anxieties early on in any developing relationship.
But no, none of this…'Wow', you hear them say, 'I can not believe my luck', We are getting married.
Best make it quick then…before you get any older or she sees the real you !!!

All very selfish, careless and inconsiderate…no real surprise there then !
Interestingly, they, the western man would not get away with it in the west.
They would soon get short shrift from the women in their own respective countries.

It is my firm belief that it is the western man that is solely at fault, probably due to the have it now, pay later, I want, why not me?, its available, I can - modern life mentality.

All relationships need work, time, love, understanding and compromise, lots of it, in abundance, overflowing to the point of painful, never stinting and always eager to make it happen.
It must work…its my responsibility to make it work - this should be the very least of a target to set oneself as the western half of an already difficult to reconcile union.

To those that make it work and find true happiness like myself...I applaud and congratulate you.
For those that fail, I cannot empathise with you as I suspect it was your intentions and motives that were flawed from the very beginning...

Working or living in China - Taxation in China for the Individual - Expat - Foreigner

If you are considering working or for that matter living in China, it might be wise to seek out professional advice beforehand regarding personal taxation regardless of what you read here or elsewhere.
That said, if you are going to work for a reputable company or organisation here in China, then they should make sure your tax affairs are in order but like most things in life here, it can often be a mistake if you rely too heavily on others.
Things are changing quickly in China, it's the nature of the beast and with the advance in communication technologies and the desire to regulate it is likely that sooner rather than later the 'checking' process will be in place for Expats and Foreigners.
Don't ever forget "what was true yesterday may not be true today and what is true today may not be true tomorrow"

Latest update - Nov 2011
In June of 2011, the draft of the "Provisional Measures for Foreigners Working in China regarding Participation in the Social Insurance Scheme" was publicly released, stating that starting from July 1st, foreigners would have to pay into the Chinese social security system, and consequently sparked worries about what that exactly meant and whether or not we could opt out of it. Just a few months later, on September 6th, 2011, despite our hopes that it would simply disappear, the China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued the "Final Provisional Measures" which will take effect starting on October 15th, 2011. While the "Final Provisional Measures" cleared up a few of the initial ambiguities about how exactly foreigners would pay into China’s social insurance system, many foreigners are still very sceptical about the actual benefits they can derive from contributing, and since this final draft still leaves many questions unanswered, it does little to quell anyone’s resentment. Given the complexity of the situation, and though it remains to be seen how this policy will take shape or form, it is important that foreigners working in China understand the "who, what, when, why etc." of what is about to happen.

Taxation in China for the Individual
IIT (Individual Income Tax)
There has unfortunately been a lot of nonsense spoken about registering for individual income tax in China, how much to pay, being paid partially overseas, actually working here but consistently on tourist visas and so on that the real picture over registering for, assessing liabilities and the payment of IIT in China has become rather muddled. Ask one expatriate, then ask another, and they will give you different opinions. However unfortunately, expatriates do not decide China's tax regulations. Neither is the situation short of clarity in the eyes of China's tax bureau, who are quite clear on the subject and who are progressively clamping down on abuse of non-working visas and the under-declaration of income by foreigners in China.

Qualification for residence for an individual: Permanent residence in China while an individual who has no permanent residence in China but has lived in China for less than 5 years is taxed on his income in China, or overseas income that has its origins in China.
Individuals staying in China more than five tax years are taxed on their worldwide income too. (See Below)
Income Tax  and Capital Gains Rates

China has a multi-tiered system of tax liabilities for foreigners, which has led to some confusion, particularly over the so-called 90 or 183 days rule. For those sent to China by a foreign company, who have their salary paid elsewhere (probably in their home country), and spend more than 183 days of a calendar year in China (or 90 if they are from a country that does not have a double tax treaty with China), they need to pay IIT (individual income tax) in China based on the number of days they effectively spent in the country.
New-to-China expatriates with full time employment here need to make sure they are in compliance. The onus is on the individual to ensure this and fines can be levied and passports censured if this is not carried out.
Newcomers need to obtain a work visa, residence permit and register for tax upon commencing or signing contracts.
The employer should arrange this for the employee.
This is a serious issue and only gets potentially worse every month it is ignored.
At some point, when an individual’s stay in China ends, they will have to reconcile with the authorities over their income. Immigration records, visa type and length of stay information are shared between the immigration authorities and the tax bureau.

The Chinese government regards individuals as tax residents when they have stayed in China for more than five years without residing outside the PRC for more than 90 days cumulatively each calendar year or 30 consecutive days within a single calendar year. A tax resident is required to pay IIT on their worldwide income without limitation of source, meaning that income elsewhere related to property rentals or interests will also needs to be declared to the Chinese tax authorities. The taxes paid overseas can be deducted from the taxes payable to the Chinese tax authorities.

Source and a must read: 

Study in China - Guangxi - Nanning - Students welcome - Gap Year

Learn Chinese - 885,000,000 people speak Mandarin Chinese.
China is a place where the ancient and the modern live side by side.
Stand out in your crowd. 

Study in China - The reasons why !
It will most likely be the strangest, challenging and rewarding experience of your life.
Impress a future employer, in their eyes you will be adaptable, independent and knowledgeable about a country that will become the largest economy in the world by about 2030 according to most experts. 
China is a dynamic, challenging environment and employers will know this.
Studying in China tells an employer that you have what it takes, both personal and professional qualities. 
The China experience gives you an immediate advantage.

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