But it is still used for less than 2% of global payments, compared with more than 40% for the U.S. dollar.
China is also not ready to launch a gold-backed currency. Even if it has 10,000 tons of gold – far more than it currently admits, the market value of that gold is only about $385 billion. China’s M1 money supply as of April 2015 is about $5.4 trillion. In other words, even on assumptions highly favorable to China, their gold is worth only about 7% of their money supply.
Historically, countries that want to run a successful gold standard need 20–40% of the money supply in gold in order to stand up to bank runs in the market. China could reduce its money supply to get to the 20% level, but this would be extremely deflationary and throw the Chinese economy into a depression that would trigger political instability. So that won’t happen.