|On 6/30 1999, Prime Minister Zhu Rongji promulgated executive order No. 268: "In order to satisfy the need of economic growth, to strengthen the currency system, and to provide better security, it is decided that the 5th series shall be issued on 10/1 1999. The 5th series includes 100 Yuan, 50 Yuan, 20 Yuan, 10 Yuan, 5 Yuan, 1 Yuan, 5 Jiao, and 1 Jiao. On 7/1, the governor of PBC, Dai Xianglong, promulgated the "Public Notice of 50 Yuan and 10 Yuan of RMB Series 5". The notice stated that we (PBC) will issue the 5th series in groups according the executive order No. 268 of the State Council. On 10/1 1999, the new 100 Yuan was issued all across the country and thoroughly introduced.|
The issuance of the fifth series (1999 series) is an important event in China's currency system. It is a proof of social stability, economic growth, cultural prosperity, and technological achievement; it is also a big gift to the 50th anniversary of the founding of PRC. PBC personnel pointed out the following when answered a reporter: The 5th series is necessary. After economic reform, the average income of Chinese grew rapidly and growth rate ranked one of the highest in the world. Therefore, the need of cash grew, and the quantity and quality of RMB needs to be readjusted. Because the fourth series was designed and produced at the beginning stage of economic reform, there are some inherited disadvantages of the fourth series such as simple security device and lack of machine readability. All reasons indicate the necessity of a new series. The personnel also pointed out that the timing of a new series is mature. Today, China's politics is stable, economy is growing steadily, all enterprises are getting advancement, international status is raising, Hong Kong is handed back, soon Macau will be as well, and everything is marching forward. At the mean time, China's financial system is developing healthily under economic reform. All of these are the guarantee of a smooth issuance of a new series.
The fifth series has some new and distinct features compared to the fourth series. First, the fifth series is completely design and produced by the People's Bank of China. This proves that China's currency design and production system is mature and the Bank is able to take the full responsibility. Second, the fifth series has representative images, which show the beautiful landscape and great heritage of China. Third, the portraits, watermarks, and denomination texts/numbers are bigger than before, especially the numbers. This can improve the readability, and therefore become more convenient to the public. Fourth, the fifth series employs many advanced technology for anti-counterfeit device. It is said that this series contains the most technology within. Fifth, the size of the new series has been readjusted, the height remains the same while the width is shrunk.
In addition, the denomination structure is changed from the fourth series, 2 Yuan and 2 Jiao are deleted and 20 Yuan is added. This is because 2 Yuan and 2 Jiao are use less and less frequently as the economy grows. Deleting these two denominations will not hinder the circulation, it also helps saving printing cost. From collectors' point of view, these two denominations are full of potential. As the price level goes up, 10 Yuan notes are becoming more commonly used for change. The usage of 10 Yuan is also greater than other denomination. Therefore, we need a new denomination between 50 Yuan and 10 Yuan to satisfy the circulation need. Consequently, 20 Yuan is added to complete the currency system.