When people outside Shanghai visit Shanghai for the first time (including me 10 years ago), they often found RMB coins are more popular in Shanghai than any other cities in China. Going out empty handed for one day and when you return, you probably have some coins in pocket.
Where the Coins Comes From
The answer is simple. It comes from everywhere.
The biggest source may be the Shanghai Metro. If you buy ticket of 4 RMB with 10 RMB paper cash, often you get your charge in 6 one-RMB coins.
The automatic ticket vending machines are the same. They sometimes give changes in coins as many as 16 one-RMB coins. Once I got 16 coins when I bought 4 RMB ticket from People’s Square to Xujiahui with 20 RMB.
The other source is taxi. Taxi drivers always keeps the coins at hand.
Since coins are so popular, the 1-RMB paper cash is not as popular, and I didn’t saw 2-RMB paper cash for a long time (BTW, did they stopped producing this kind of cash?).
Where to Use it
I believe there are two reasons why people in Shanghai loves coins better.
1. There is a Coin Manufaturing Factory in Shanghai. There are only 3 coin manufacturing companies in China (the others are in Shenyang, and Nanjing. There is another one in Shenzhen, but they don’t produce RMB coins. They produce golden coins only) (correct me if I am wrong here).
2. There are many coin-only equipments in Shanghai. For example, the ticket vending machine in Shanghai Metro, and the telephone booth, drink vending machines… You can use it in many places. The “self-serve” buses are also a good place for coins.
Shanghai is Different
In most cities I visited in China, they don’t like coins. For example, in Beijing and Luoyang, people don’t like coins, and some refuse to accept coins. To be not exact, not to refuse. They just ask you if you have paper cash instead of coins.
People say it is troublesome to carry coins, and they are easy to lose.
I am a Coin-fan
Me? I love coins. I love the feeling to have a lot of coins in pockets – “the feeling of being rich.” Just kidding. But I do know that advisers to Bill Gates suggested Bill not to carry any coins in pocket, because the sound of coins reminds people of how rich he is.
Today is a typical day. I started with 10 RMB, bought ticket at vending machine at 4 RMB (the Public Transportation card happened to have no money in it), and spent 4 out of the 6 changed coins tonight. Now I have two left. The picture below is one of them… :-)
My 1-RMB coin