China’s central bank released a special edition banknote – but people have forgotten what cash looks like

Lianhe Zaobao

A special edition 50-yuan bank note announced by China’s central bank last Friday (Nov 23) has piqued the interest of social media users in the digitally savvy nation.

The People’s Bank of China said the 50-yuan (US$7) notes were meant to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the launch of China’s renminbi currency.

The special edition 50-yuan notes released by China.

But in a country where more than 500 million people use mobile payment systems such as WeChat Pay and Alipay every day, the release of new banknotes can seem rather archaic.

In fact, many tourists now find it difficult to get around Chinese cities with cash since many businesses – from luxury retailers to street vendors – are choosing to accept only mobile payments. Even the traditional hongbao or red envelopes given during the Chinese New Year are increasingly being replaced by digital money gifts.

Amused citizens have since started sharing their thoughts on the new banknotes on social media site Weibo with the hashtag “I haven’t used cash in a long time”. To date, the hashtag has drawn 190 million views and 32,000 Weibo posts.

Some Weibo users said they hadn’t used cash in such a long time that they’d forgotten what the normal 50-yuan banknote even looked like.

One user asked people to reveal how much cash they had on them. Unsurprisingly, many of those who responded said they didn’t have a single cent.

Another person wrote: “Heavens! I can’t even remember what money looks like!”

Read also: One photo shows that China is already in a cashless future