Beijing: China has been printing foreign currencies on a massive scale as more and more countries outsource money production in a bid to keep costs down.
The country’s currency printing plants are running at near full capacity, according to South China Morning Post citing sources at the state-owned China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation.
After launching the ‘Belt and Road initiative’ in late 2013, China has won contracts for money production projects from countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Poland.
China is said to be able to provide security features such as embedded thread, metallic ribbon and colour-shifting ink at a relatively low cost compared with their Western rivals.
At the same time, the country’s own yuan bills only made a small proportion of the orders as the Chinese public increasingly favours mobile payments, causing a decrease in the demand for cash.
According to President of the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation Liu Guisheng, China did not print foreign currency until recently.
Two years after Beijing launched the belt and road plan, the country started printing 100-rupee notes for Nepal, according to Liu in an article he wrote in journal China Finance.
Launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the belt and road plan is a global development blueprint involving about 60 countries from Asia, Europe to Africa to stimulate economic growth through capital investment and infrastructure projects.
China also produced 200 million 1,000-rupee notes last year. A Xinhua report stated that Bhuban Kadel, the executive director of the Nepalese central bank, said he was ‘utterly impressed by the quality of the notes, particularly considering the cost was far lower than the bank had previously paid to a’The quality is as good as the ones that were printed earlier in another country but the cost is less than half of the amount we had paid,’ Kadel told Xinhua.
Getting 200 million notes printed in China saved the Nepalese central bank US$3.76 million (£2.9 million), according to him.
Currently China is the only country that has the capacity to perform Intaglio, or ‘raised’ printing simultaneously on both sides of a banknote, according to South China Morning Post.
In 2015, Chinese researchers won an international innovation award for ColorDance, a new holographic feature that can significantly increase a paper currency’s security at lower cost.
Zhongchao Special Security Technology, a subsidiary of China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation is now the world’s biggest supplier of security features for banknotes, according to the report citing British banknote manufacturing firm De La Rue.
In comparison, the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing employs a tenth of the staff at two currency factories. De Le Rue, the world’s number two, had just over 3,100 employees at the end of last year.