China’s drive in international markets to replace the dollar and become the reserve currency globally has a lot to do with their strategic plans. It’s not just about pure economics. There is a fascinating piece in Germany’s Der Spiegel which spells out their efforts in detail. As the article points out,
Years ago, Hu and the Politburo attended secret lectures in which Chinese professors explained the history of the rise and fall of major powers. During these sessions, the Chinese leaders realized that no modern country has ever become a superpower without a reserve currency.
The challenge for China is that to become the global reserve currency, they have to give up essential control of their currency and allow it to be freely exchange into another. Beijing is basically using a complicated system of foreign currency controls to prevent that from happening. However, they are slowly starting to allow Chinese businesses to conduct their affairs overseas with the yuan. In December, 67,400 Chinese export firms were granted permits to do business abroad in yuan. Before that, only 365 companies had permission to do so.