If you travel in China for quite some time, you may need to carry a pretty large amount of money with you. Then you should consider opening a bank account in China so that you can deposit and withdraw money whenever and wherever you want, and no need to carry a pile of bank notes with you.
Just go to any branch of the big banks and show your passport and china visa, fill out some forms and you will have a bank account right away. You will be given a bank passbook when the account opening process is finshed. If you also want a bank card to withdraw money at ATM machines, which you should do, you can have one upon paying RMB10 (Bank of China’s charge in 2007). You will also be given a pin number for accessing your account with the card.
In other words, it is free to open a bank account in China. But if you want to have a bank card to use the ATM machines, you will need to pay a fee of about RMB10.
However, be aware of the tricks and traps. Say, if you open a bank account with Bank of China in Guangdong Province, it is all free for you to use the bank’s ATM machinese in the province. But if you want to use the bank’s ATM machine in another province, then you will be charged about RMB10 each time. If you deposit money over the bank counter, you will be charged even more – about RMB40.