Rishengchang Exchange Shop, Rishengchang Draft Bank

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The Rishengchang Exchange Shop, located in Pingyao, Shanxi province, China, is considered the first draft bank in China's history. It was founded in Qing Dynasty(1823).

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Rishengchang Exchange Shop
Rishengchang Exchange Shop

In the nineteenth century, at its peak, it controlled almost half of the Chinese economy and its branches were widespread throughout China's big urbans and capital, Beijing. And in some western and southeastern countries, Rishengchang also owned its branches and offices. A famous Chinese writer named Yu Qiuyu has once stated that Rishengchang is the " rural grandfather " of all the modern Chinese banks. The exchange shop is now a museum and in 2006 was included on the List of monuments of the People's Republic of China (6-484).

Rishengchang Exchange Shop
Rishengchang Exchange Shop

During the late Qing Dynasty, a new development occurred: the creation of piaohao, which were essentially banks that provided services like money transfers and transactions, deposits, and loans. After the establishment of the first piaohao in Pingyao, the bankers in Shanxi dominated China's financial market for centuries until the collapse of Qing Dynasty and the coming of British banks.

Rishengchang Exchange Shop
Rishengchang Exchange Shop

Reviews of Rishengchang Exchange Shop

The Rishengchang Exchange Shop (Rishengchang literally meaning sunrise prosperity), one of the earliest exchange shops in China, is located on West Street in Ping Yao City, Shanxi Province. The rectangular compound faces north and is 65 meters (71 yards) long and 20 meters (22 yards) wide. In total it occupies over 1,300 square meters (approximately a third of an acre). It was established in 1823 during the Qing Dynasty (1644--1911). At that time it had over 35 branches in China's major cities. In December 1995, Shanxi Provincial Government listed it as a Provincial Key Cultural Relic under the Reservation and it is now the Chinese Exchange Shop Museum.

Rishengchang Exchange Shop
Rishengchang Exchange Shop

During the Qing Dynasty China's currency was silver coin and there were obvious problems relating to security and convenience if traders had to carry large sums of money in coin form. The exchange shops offered a convenient alternative and thus bills of exchange came into use and an early form of banking created. Cash deposited at one branch could become payable by means of a bill at another as a secure method of transferring funds from one businessman to another regardless of time and distance. The Rishengchang Exchange Shop acquired the reputation of Huitong Tianxia, which means the silver coin and the bills of the exchange could reach every part of the country. Before the establishment of the modern banking system the Rishengchang Exchange Shop had a great influence on the Chinese economy during the 108 years between its opening and ultimate demise in bankruptcy. Due to its enormous influence upon the development of banking in China, the Rishengchang now has become a place of considerable interest to visitors in recent years.

Rishengchang Exchange Shop
Rishengchang Exchange Shop

How to get Rishengchang Exchange Shop

You can take a coach from the south side of Taiyuan Train Station. The two hour journey to Ping Yao costs CNY 10. While in Ping Yao, you can choose either to take a kind of rickshaw provided for visitors or you can make you way around on foot.

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