Ever since the Taiping Rebellion the finances of this country were known to have been precarious; and the provinces took favourably to any means of enhancing revenue, whether such proved eventually good or not. When several provinces saw huge profits arising out of coinage in Canton, as well as in the British Colony of Hongkong, they set to work to establish mints themselves. Shortly after the establishment of the Canton mint, Chang Chih-tung was transferred to Wuchang as the Viceroy of Hukwang. In 1895 he helped to build the Wuchang silver mint. He also made an effort to bring about a fixed ratio of exchange between the new silver dollar and cash, by issuing a proclamation, in 1896, that the new Hupeh dollar was officially worth 1000 cash. It was, however, found that official proclamations were of no use, when they were up against economic forces. The next mint to be established was the Peiyang in 1896, when the question of having the tael or dollar as a unit was again discussed, and decided in the favour of the latter. The mint at Foochow was also built in the same year. This mint has coined nothing but ten- and twenty-cent pieces during the whole course of its existence. Six other mints were established or projected in 1898 - the activity during this period being mainly due to the reform agitation which followed the defeat of China at the hands of Japan. By the end of 1898 there were ten provincial mints operating, or about to begin work, which were as follow: Canton mint established 1890, Wuchang 1895, Peiyang or Tientsin 1896, Foochow 1896, Nanking 1898, Hangchow 1898, Nganking 1898, Mukden 1898, Kirin 1898, Chengtu 1898; a number of other establishments were projected but given up later on. Although most of the mints paid special attention to the subsidiary silver coins, they certainly turned out many millions of dollars. As they were all purely provincial coinage which, for some reason or other, the Central Government was not willing to accept unreservedly, these Chinese dollars were not freely received for taxes; and when taken were accepted by weight and not by count. These provincial dollars never quite succeeded in displacing the Mexican or other foreign dollars. For one thing, they had only a provincial guarantee and outside of the province of issue circulated only at a discount. Owing to the limited demand for them, the annual output of dollars decreased from millions to thousands. The energy of the mints was, however, devoted towards coining an unlimited number of ten-and twenty-cent pieces until the revolution of 1911. The mints had the prospect of large profits from the use of these coins, while the money changers took to this issue because of the large margin between the rate of issue and the intrinsic value. These coins were only in the nature of an addition to the earlier cash and uncoined silver currency; they had not displaced any of the old currency, which circulated in the country to the great disadvantage of the Government and trade.
The result was that the value of the subsidiary coins began to depreciate and a dollar commanded a price in subsidiary coins valuing from eleven to twelve ten-cent pieces.