Tianjin shopping street

Currency and banking in China

Looking after your money in China

Managing your money in China isn’t too different to home. You’ll find assistance from the INTO office, should you need help exchanging currency or opening a Chinese bank account.

What currency is used in China?

In China, the legal tender is CNY (Chinese Yuan), also known as RMB (Renminbi).

Notes are issued to the value of ¥100, ¥50, ¥20, ¥10, ¥5 and ¥1. Coins are used less frequently in the North of China.

How much cash should I bring?

Academic students:

When you first arrive it is important to bring enough money to pay for your initial ‘settling in’ costs. These include paying for accommodation, visa, health check, sim cards etc. You can use your debit and credit cards to withdraw Chinese currency from ATMs in China. Family and sponsors can send you money through bank transfer - the INTO office can help with this.

You'll need approximately RMB 2,000-4,000 per month to meet your basic living expenses. This will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits. Around the campus, there are plenty of budget restaurants and cafés. It’s possible to eat well while only spending RMB 700 per month on food. You may want to treat yourself to other cuisines or a more upscale restaurant, every once in a while.

Chinese Language Summer Programme students:

The programme includes the cost of all meals, activities, tuition and accommodation. You’ll only need cash for souvenirs, snacks and spending in your free time at weekends and evenings. RMB 2000 should be enough to cover basic costs for your time in China. Allow for extra spending money if you plan on shopping trips or nights out.

What's the cost of living in China?

The cost of living in China is much cheaper than Western Europe or North America. As a rough guide, a bottle of water costs RMB 2 and a subway ride RMB 3. A meal from the canteen at Nankai University costs around RMB 10.

Shopping is a popular activity in such a developed economy as Tianjin. You’ll find large scale shopping malls such as Joy City and BinJiang Street which feature western brands. Zara, H&M, Gap, Holister, Nandos, Hagendaas and more are here. You can expect to pay similar prices to home for international brands.

Opening a bank account

In the long term, you’ll find using a Chinese bank account more convenient and cost effective. We’ll help you open a Chinese bank account with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB) during orientation week. There’s a large branch of SPDB at the west gate of the Nankai University campus with English-language service five days per week.

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