Over 1.3 billion people live in China no wonder that one
mint alone cant cope with the production of the entire amount
of coinage required. Consequently, there are four mints (Nanjing,
Shenyang, Shanghai and Shenzhen) providing the Chinese population
with the necessary hard cash and manufacturing special coins for
The main building of the Peoples Bank
The authority watching over all this is the Peoples
Bank of China. Founded in 1948, it took on the function of
a central bank and a commercial bank at the same time, in the years
from 1949 to 1978 after all, it was the only existing bank in the
country. In the eighties, though, the business functions were distributed
onto four state-owned financial institutions, while the role of
the Peoples Bank was reduced to that of a central bank, which
exclusively conducts the national monetary policy. It is responsible
for issuing the Renminbi and controlling its exchange rate. Hence,
its task is to determine the volume of money in circulation. Thus,
the PBC is in charge of the two institutions commissioned with the
production of money: The China Banknote Printing
and Minting Corporation and the China Gold Coin Inc.
While the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation is responsible
for the production of circulating money, the China Gold Coin Inc.
(CGCI) was primarily founded to promote foreign sales of the popular
collectors coins. The Chinese mints are not allowed to directly
approach domestic and international collectors; contact is established
via the CGCI. Currently, this enterprise employs a staff of 300
and its annual sales amount to 300 million US$.
Model of the
planned Guobao Mint
Only 60 km from Hong Kong lies Shenzhen, where the
Guobao Mint is located. The mint specializes in the production of
commemorative coins and medals. With the latest technology at their
disposal, they master advanced techniques to produce colorized,
bi-metallic and hologram coins. The annual output can reach
up to two million pieces. Although the Guobao Mint was constructed
only two years ago, the production premises where around 120 employees
are working are no longer sufficient. Now, a new, bigger production
hall is being planned.
The Shanghai Mint building from early 20th
In Shanghai, the seaport city that already in the
19th century opened to the West, coins have been struck since early
20th century. Commissioned by the Chinese government, the architect
Clifford Hewitt designed a neoclassical building inspired by the
U.S. Mint of Philadelphia. In 1920, the first
circulating coins were issued.
At present, the Shanghai Mint has a staff of about 1,400 employees.
They do not only produce coins, but also flans almost 3
trillion, which is 3,000,000,000,000 in numbers, of which
2.5 trillion are needed only in Shanghai for minting circulation
Also collectors coins are produced in Shanghai; in the years
between 1979 and 2006, 2.15 million ounces (=6,686.50 kg)
of gold and 9.6
million ounces (29,856 kg) of silver
were used in the production.
Shenyang lies in the North-East of China. Established
at the end of the 19th century to produce Westernstyle coins, the
mint is the oldest of the country and most deeply steeped in tradition.
Its the place where the Emperor Puyis
famous dragon dollars were struck. Since 1955, the coins
of the Peoples Republic have been minted in Shenyang. In 1979,
it was decided to issue also commemorative coins made of both precious
and base metal, the first of which were manufactured here.
Today, the Shenyang Mint produces about
5 trillion circulating coins per year, i.e. half of the amount
required by the entire PR China, as well as 50 million commemorative
coins made of all kinds of metals and alloys. In one year, approximately
one million ounces of precious metal are used for the production
of gold and silver bullion coins.
This mint only produces circulation coins for Chinese domestic needs.