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Shopping in China

Shopping in China

Silver Market & Antique Market

The Silver Market and the Antique Market are the most famous places for culture and arts souvenirs in Beijing. They offer a vast range of produce and crafts. Items that are particularly attractive to visitors include carpets, rugs, fans, laquerware, calligraphy and tea. Silk and porcelain are also major exports and bargaining or haggling is considered standard practice.

Recommended Places:

Hongqian Market / Xiushui Market /Yaxiu Market / Liulichang

DVDs, Electrical & Digital Goods

Everyone knows that China produces masses of DVDs, electrical and digital goods nowadays. The DVDs of recent blockbuster movies can be found easily in most DVD shops in China. DVDs are cheaper to buy in China than most countries because of low production costs. A movie DVD usually costs from 7 - 20RMB (1 pound or 2 dollars). Coming to China will provide the best chance to increase your movie collection whatever your movie tastes may be.

Wang Fujing Avenue

Participants can experience the local night market downtown in Wangfujing. The street is filled with outdoor pushcart vendors selling a variety of local food. They sell everything from skewered beef to Chinese quails eggs and fried noodles, all in the fast food style. Dishes are customized and fried on the spot. You can have your choice of meat, vegetables and noodles, as well as the more adventurous fried scorpions for diehard travellers!

Xidan Area

Xidan area is yet another prosperous shopping zone in Beijing, especially with the newly built Xidan Cultural Plaza on the south end. Apart from giant malls such as Huawei Shopping Mall, Xidan Shopping Centre, Zhongyou Department Store and Xidan Emporium, there are also many specialty stores selling brand-name commodities, such as clothing and shoes. With an array of restaurants and fast food outlets, Xidan is also a connoisseur's paradise.

Department Stores

The prices of products are set in department stores (to practice your haggling skills, head to the Silk Market or somewhere similar). People can find many high quality Chinese products as well as a plethora of Western merchandise. Most things can be found at department stores from daily necessities to high fashion brands.

Some of the famous shopping places:
Friendship Stores / Dongan Shopping Mall /New Oriental Plaza / Shuanan Mall / Dongwu Silk Store


Hundreds of supermarkets have opened in Beijing over the last ten years. Nowadays going to a Chinese supermarket can satisfy most of your general shopping needs. Most commonly you can see Chinese supermarket chains such as Jingkelong and Hualian; however, you also can find some global supermarket giants such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Tesco.

Wholesale Markets

There are thousands of products being sold in wholesale markets around Beijing. There are a wide range of goods on display such as clothes, shoes, stationery, sports goods, daily necessities, jewelry, souvenirs, Chinese handcrafts etc. Haggling is the norm here, so don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price.

Major wholesale markets:

Tiancheng Pifa shichang/ Tianyi Pifa Shichang /
Wantong Pifa Shichang / Jingwuxing Pifa Shichang

Useful Bargain Skills

Bargaining is common in most of markets in China. Bargaining is an art and if you are unfamiliar with it we’d like to offer you some advice. The tips here are specific to Beijing but may help you at any place in the world where bargaining is practiced.

1. Do not say how much you want to pay for an item unless you are near the end of the process. Always try and drop the seller’s offering price as much as possible before opening your mouth with a price.

2. Do keep smiling throughout. The seller is much more likely to continue bargaining with a happy smiling face. Getting angry rarely gets you the price you want (and is also a loss of face).

3. Be aware the initial price offered by the seller is usually at least 40% over the general price. It can be up to 500% over.

4. Do have an idea of what the item is worth. You can ask Chinese friends, hotel staff, ex-pats or look at our rough guide below. This is very general and is based on a market like Hong Qiao. You may not be able to get the lowest prices stated at Hong Qiao, especially on a weekend when there are lots of tourists around.

5. Do walk away once you’ve given them your final price (or even before). If you get called back (or the stallkeeper chases after you) you know you are close. If you do not get called back, go to a similar stall and try again with a slightly higher price.

Recommended Price Ranges

Item (all fake brands) Price range (in RMB)
   Pants/Trousers        50 - 150
  Shirts/Tops   40 - 150
  Jackets (non leather)   60 - 200
  Shoes   30 - 150
  Watches   30 - 300
  DVD   6 - 20(max)
  VCD/CD   5 - 20 (max)

The Process (illustrated)

The English being spoken by the seller will often consist of "cheaper", "how much you pay", "good quality", "and no profit “, "highest price" etc. Numbers are tapped out on a giant calculator to avoid confusion.

1. Your best bet is to keep repeating the phrase "cheaper" to them as much as you can before revealing your price.

2. Decide on your price based on the chart above, how much you like it, and your perception of the quality of the item.

3. Once you’ve decided the price, you then tell them a figure about 40% of the price you’re willing to pay, and then go up in 5% increments until they give in.

4. Good luck and have fun!

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