China on Thursday put into circulation a new version of its 100-yuan banknote — the highest denomination available in the world’s second-largest economy — with added golden touches that the government said was harder to forge.

The note, worth just under $16, retains its overall red colour, with Communist founder Mao Zedong on one side and Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the other.

A bank employee shows new 100-yuan banknotes in Handan, north China’s Hebei province on November 12, 2015. Photo: AFP.

But the main “100” becomes gold, rather than red and blue, prompting some Chinese media to dub it the “tuhao jin” note, or “high-roller gold”.

More security features were added, including widening the security strip, to make it “easier for machines to read” and “more convenient for the public to distinguish the authentic notes from the fakery”, the central People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said previously.

Counterfeiting is rampant in China with the country’s own currency no exception, despite numerous crackdowns by authorities.

Police in the southern province of Guangdong announced in September that they seized piles of forged 100-yuan banknotes with a face value of 210 million yuan in a raid, according to reports.

“Some law breakers kept adopting new technologies to counterfeit the renminbi,” the PBOC said in an August statement, using the official name for the currency.

“We must… constantly improve the anti-counterfeiting technologies and the printing quality of the legal tender,” it said.

China’s Communists issued the first generation of renminbi — literally “people’s money” — in December 1948, before completing their takeover of the country.

The newest version was distributed to banks in the capital by 43 armoured cars, escorted by security guards, reported the Mirror, a local newspaper.

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