A Country Guide to China

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9,572,900 sq. km. (3,696,100 sq. miles)


East Asia


1.3 billion (as per estimates of 2006) and Population Density of 135 per sq. km.

Capital City

Beijing (Peking) with a total population of 15.2 million (as per estimates of 2005). Some other heavily populated cities of China include Chongqing (31 million) and Shanghai (18 million) with 11 other cities having population of over 2 million and 23 cities having population between 1-2 million.


Mandarin Chinese is the official and most popular language of China. Several local dialects are also spoken in China, including Cantonese, Shanghaiese (also known as Shanghainese), Fuzhou, Hokkien-Taiwanese, Xiang, Gan and Hakka.

The autonomous regions of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Mongolia have their own languages. Visitors not comfortable with the local languages can avail the services of translators and interpreters. Many guides in big hotels also speak good English. However, the taxi drivers in China are not so good at spoken English.


AC 220 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin and three-pin sockets are commonly used. Several 4-5 star hotels are also well equipped for the use of 110-volt appliances.


1 Renminbi Yuan (CNY; Symbol ¥). 1¥ = 10 Chiao/Jiao or 100 Fen.

Notes prevalent = ¥ 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100; Chiao/Jiao 1, 2, and 5

Coins prevalent = ¥ 1; Chiao 1 and 5; Fen 1, 2, and 5

Currency Exchange

Currency Exchange facility is available at the branches of The Bank of China. CYN is not traded outside China. The visitors can also use foreign currency in some hotels and Friendship Stores for buying imported luxury items; however, Scottish and Northern Irish Banknotes can’t be exchanged. For more details and exchange rates, travellers are advised to consult their banks.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

Credit/Debit/ATM Cards of all major companies like Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express, etc. accepted in major provincial cities in designated establishments. ATMs are situated mostly in and around the airports, big hotels, and mega shopping centres.

Traveller's Cheques

Travellers Cheques are widely accepted. In order to avoid exchange rate charges, the travellers would do well to carry traveller’s cheques in US Dollars.

Banking Hours

Banks in China normally function from Monday to Friday from 0900-1600/1700. However, some bank branches also close for lunch from 1200-1300.

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