Shopping in China

"Do you need a jacket? Do you need some T-Shirts?" You can get everything at the big  markets in China: shoes, bags, clothing, ranging from casual to traditional Chinese style costumes, pearls, silk, chopsticks, china, souvenirs, ski jackets, tailor’s, clothes, books, DVD’s… You can get it for example at the Silk Markets located in Beijing’s district Xiushui Jie, or at the Yashow Markets in the entertainments district Sanlitun, where on several floors stand follows stand, offering well-known but not necessarily genuine labels, less known labels, or such that remind of specific labels. Each purchase is an adventure: Getting rid of sellers, finding clothes that are well-fitting, trying trousers between all the crowds, paying attention not to loose orientation, and of course haggling over cheap-buys.

Shopping in China – this is a new experience. Relaxed strolling around trough shopping malls at comfortable speed as one is used to do in Europe – this is rather seldom in China’s shopping centres… It is more likely to spend several hours in these large department stores and to get tired feet, because the way through the passages consists of many stops in between, and the temptation to buy something is simply too large…

In contradiction to Germany, China is a society of merchants. With exception of supermarkets, state-owned companies and restaurants, you can negotiate about the price everywhere, and to do so is very much advised, because the prices are initially set being too high, especially for tourists.
However, one has also to be a little bit skilful at negotiations, if one is not willing to pay too much. Staying friendly, not letting oneself get worked up, giving the seller the feeling, to be really interested in the product, and insisting on getting prices offered that are appropriate. Mostly, you should start negotiating about a quarter of the initially offered price. Altogether, it is necessary to remain firm and not to let being deterred by arguments as “it is impossible, you are killing me with that price", or "you are joking" – because in comparison to prices used to pay at home, getting a bargain is nearly guaranteed.  

Each buy is nevertheless an adventure, because you will never know in advance whether you are going to get offered a fair price.

Apart from the classical markets and the biggest shopping centres worldwide, e.g. the Golden Resources Shopping Mall in northwest of Beijing, there are also some high-quality designer stores and shops that are offering genuine labels. You will find many of them for example in Beijing’s Wangfujing Street. Here you can find are shopping centres and boutiques, where it is still possible to rummage through and to go for a cosy window-shopping.

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