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Pānbì 潘币

One Panbi from the "SOHO Real Estate Bank of China." SOHO China, Pan’s real estate company, is the biggest developer in Beijing. (Artist: Rebel Pepper)

A fictional currency invented by netizens to mock property tycoon Pan Shiyi and simultaneously express disgust with the housing bubble. Pan is the chairman of SOHO China, China's largest prime office real estate developer, a firm he co-founded with his wife Zhang Xin in 1995.

Steve Jobs’ death on October 5, 2011 triggered an enormous reaction from Chinese netizens. On Weibo, Beijing real estate tycoon Pan Shiyi chimed in with the following post:

PanShiyi (@潘石屹): Apple’s board of directors should make the following decision: To immediately manufacture iPhones and iPads that are under 1000 yuan [about US$157] so that more people can afford Apple products. This is the best way to commemorate Jobs.


One netizen replied:

@TangRouding9983 (@唐若丁9983): When Mr. Pan passes away some day, your company should offer homes that are under RMB1000 per square meter. Over a billion people will commemorate you then.


Pan soon deleted the original post, but his new title, "1000 Pan," spread rapidly. Netizens turned their frustration at China’s housing bubble on Pan by naming a new form of money, the Panbi (literally "Pan currency"), in his honor. The base unit of the currency is derived from @Tangrouding9983's suggestion: one Panbi is equivalent to 1000 yuan per square meter. Thus, an apartment that normally costs 24,000 yuan per square meter would only cost 24 Panbi per square meter.