China’s central bank has officially put the country’s new 100-yuan banknote into circulation starting today. According to officials, counterfeit prevention is at the center of this upgrade.
The 100-yuan note is the largest denomination of Chinese currency. First introduced as part of the fifth set of bank notes brought in by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in 1999, the 100-yuan bank note last had a design overhaul in 2005, reports Xinhua.
At first sight, the new bank note appears essentially the same as the old one. There are, however, as many as seven improvements.
One of the changes is the use of color-changing ink applied to the pattern of the number 100 in the center of the note which will change color from golden to green when the angle is adjusted. Similarly there’s a security line on the right of the bill, which changes from pink to green with the viewing angle. There is also a textured pattern across the image of the Great Hall of the People on the back of the note.
“The portrait of Mao Zedong remains the same on the whole. But if you look with a microscope, the way every line and every dot is placed in painting this portrait has been changed. This is for preventing counterfeits,” said Shao Guowei, technical director of China Banknote Printing and Minting Corp.
The bill is ultimately being released in an effort to thwart increasingly active and sophisticated counterfeiters. The PBOC said the new banknotes have updated anti-forgery features in response to numerous complaints of fake bills.
Many of these are handed out by ATMs and the increased levels of technology in the new bills will make it easier for ATMs to read them and spot the fake ones.
Despite efforts to protect the currency, counterfeiting remains a prominent issue in China. Police confiscated 532 million yuan ($85.6 million) in fake bills in 2014, up about 25% from a year earlier.
“We can now distinguish between real and fake money within five seconds. These new features will require an update to current counterfeit detecting machines,” Shao said.
The yuan has undergone many redesigns since China’s central bank issued its first series in 1948. Antique collectors are already getting excited about the prospect of the 2005 edition of 100 bills becoming historical items in the future.
An auction in Beijing reported that a set of first edition series yuan notes started the bidding at 1800 yuan and were eventually sold for ten times the starting price.
Finally, take a quick trip down memory lane. Here’s the 1999 edition of the note, part of the fifth series of bank notes by PBOC:
1980’s edition of the 100 yuan bill:
And the original edition of the 100 yuan bill from the 1940s:
By Daniel Paul
[Images via Xinhua & China Daily]