Opinion / From the Press

How much space does 120 million yuan take up?

( Updated: 2014-11-15 09:09

Reports say 120 million yuan ($19.6 million) in banknotes, 37 kilograms of gold, plus certificates that show ownership of over 68 houses have been found in the home of Ma Chaoqun, a town-level official in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province. The number looks astonishing – how much room does it take to store such a fortune?

The latest 100 yuan banknote, the largest currency issued by the People’s Bank of China, is 15.5 cm long, 7.7 cm wide and about 0.009 cm thick, weighing 115 grams. A total of 120 million yuan means 1.2 million banknotes, which weighs 2.3 tons in all and occupies 1.289 cubic meters of space.

If piled up in one single line, the money tower would be over 118 meters in height, slightly lower than the new building of People’s Daily. If spread flat on the floor one after the other, the banknotes would cover 1,432,200 square meters of land, or two or three residence communities. Qinhuangdao has a permanent population of 3 million, and 1.2 million yuan means 40 yuan from each resident.

One gold ring normally weighs between 3 to 5 grams – a goldsmith can make 7,000 to 12,000 of them out of Ma’s gold reserves. There was news in Beijing that over 80 people were group-renting a 100-square-meter apartment; Ma’s family owns enough houses for over 4,800 residents.

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