The currency in China is called the Renminbi (Chinese: 人民币) and is abbreviated as RMB the same way the dollaser is abbreviated ast $. Renminbi in Chinese means the peoples currency. The main unit in RMB is the yuan. For example a bowl of noodles should cost no more than 10 yuan. In some parts of China the yuan is called Kuai so the bowl of noodes will cost 10 yuan or 10 kuai. The next smallest unit of Chinese money is the mao or jiao. 10 Jiao make 1 yuan. The smallest unit is fen. 100 fen make one yuan.
1 yuan/kuai = 10 mao/jiao = 100 fen
The fen has been phased out and for all intents and purposes, no longer exist.
Chinese money is issued in the following denominations
Notes – one hundred yuan, 50 yuan, 20 yuan, 10 yuan, 5 yuan and 1 yuan
Coins – 1 yuan, 5 mao, 1 mao
Macau and Hong Kong have different currencies with Hong Kong using the Hong Kong dollar and Macau using the Macanese Pataca. The yuan can be used in both territories but expect to be given unfavorable exchange rates.
At the time of post, the official exchange rates for the RMB were as follows
1 USD = 6.6RMB
1 CAD = 6.8RMB
1 GBP = 10.7RMB
1 AUD = 6.7RMB
The best advice for money when travelling in China is to keep a handful of 100 RMB notes (say at least 500-1000RMB) and a pocket full of loose change such as a few 20RMB notes and coins for taxis, trains buses and so forth.
A word of warning – many taxi drivers will not carry enough changes to break a 100RMB note for you so being prepared with loose change can save a lot of trouble.