Actionable insights on equities, fixed-income, macros and personal finance Start 14-Days Free Trial
Actionable investing insights Get Free Trial

There’s a Big Cash Economy in …. China.


China: In Cash We Trust (WSJ): We think of India as using a lot of cash, but in reality, China’s just as big, or bigger:

Lugging nearly $130,000 in cash into a dealership might sound bizarre, but it’s not exactly uncommon in China, where hotel bills, jewelry purchases and even the lecture fees for visiting scholars are routinely settled with thick wads of renminbi, China’s currency.

This is a country, after all, where home buyers make down payments with trunks filled with cash. And big-city law firms have been known to hire armored cars to deliver the cash needed to pay monthly salaries.

This of course might not be possible in India, where buying a car needs a cheque or draft, or you have to give your PAN number (which reveals who you are).

China has a limited note printing policy, it seems:

Doing business in China takes a lot of cash because Chinese authorities refuse to print any bill larger than the 100-renminbi note. That’s equivalent to $16. Since 1988, the 100-renminbi note, graced by Mao Zedong’s visage, has been the largest note in circulation, even though the economy has grown fiftyfold.

India doesn’t have anything larger than the 1,000 rupee note either, and that is worth about $18.

Recently some political parties have decried the use of the Indian Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes, saying they fuel corruption. In China, where they don’t use large bills, people use more bills instead


Like our content? Join Capitalmind Premium.

  • Equity, fixed income, macro and personal finance research
  • Model equity and fixed-income portfolios
  • Exclusive apps, tutorials, and member community
Subscribe Now Or start with a free-trial