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Why other countries...

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De La Rue, for example, has more than 140 countries as clients, according to information on its website.

Other major players include Giesecke & Devrient in Germany, which serves about 60 nations, and Crane Currency based in the United States with more than 200 years in the trade.

The main drawback of having money printed outside the country is the security risk.

Seven years ago, during the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, the British government seized nearly $1.5 billion worth of dinars printed by De La Rue, causing serious cash shortages that increased the pressure on the regime. De La Rue did not respond to the Post’s queries.

Modern money printing facilities are also extremely sophisticated and expensive to operate and use technology beyond the reach of ordinary business to reduce the risk of replication.

Some security features such as embedded thread, metallic ribbon and colour-shifting ink require considerable licence fees and many countries cannot afford to print all the banknotes they need. 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 De La Rue.

The British firm’s latest annual report said the Chinese firm now has a third of the global market share, four times that of its own. Sources in the industry say that one of its major advantages in this area is by being able to provide security features at a relatively low cost compared with more technologically advanced Western rivals.

Currently China is the only country that has the capacity to perform Intaglio, or “raised” printing simultaneously on both sides of a banknote, while 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 relatively low cost. But not everyone is optimistic about the future of money printing as cashless payments grow in popularity around the world. “I won’t let my children work in this factory. Paper currency is doomed,” said an employee in the Kunshan facility. According to the People’s Bank of China, only about 10% of payments in retail sales were made in cash in 2016 due to the prevalence of mobile phone payment methods.

The share may even be even lower now, but the central bank did not respond to requests for comment. The number of people working in the Chinese money printing industry fell by more than 2,500 between 2013 and the end of last year, according to the central bank. In the face of this, the factory worker said China would face enormous challenges taking business from well-established Western printing companies. “There is still a technological gap between us and the West. To fill the gap requires some talented young people. But now most PhDs under the age of 40 in our factory have left.

“With their knowledge and experience they have easily found jobs in private companies, which offer them much higher salaries and benefits,” said the employee. “And we are state companies. We are crippled by inefficiency in competition against private companies.”

(Source: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2158782/why-other-countries-are-giving-china-licence-print-money)

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