Shopping in China

For those who travel to China, China may be shopping paradise, for there are so many “featured Chinese goods” can be brought back to home as souvenirs or gifts to family and friends. Chinese tea, silk, china and other handicrafts are all passed to today from the ancient time, and all of them are marked with the long history and deep culture of China. Besides that, China also offers travelers with shiny new department stores, shopping malls, high-end boutique stores and all kinds of bustling night markets. Travelers can find all kinds of goods in China. Except for the luxury import goods, which are often more expensive than foreign country due to high tariffs, China is very welcomed by most of shoppers and travelers.

What to Buy in China

Travelers who want to bring something “China” back home as souvenir or gift to family or friends, the following are very popular among foreign travelers.

1.Chinese Tea

China’s tea culture can be dated back the several thousand years ago, and it’s not overstated to call China as the home of tea. There are many kinds of teas in China: green tea, black tea, dark green tea, white tea, yellow tea, etc. For those tea lovers, ceramic tea set or purple clay teapot are also good choices to purchase in China together with the tea.

Tips: Longjing Tea of Hanghzou, Biluochun Tea of Suzhou, Maofeng Tea of Huangshan, Pu’er Tea of Yunnan, Yunwu of Mount Lu, Tieguanyin fo Anxi, etc are all famous teas in China. Travelers can purchase when they travel these places. However, there are many tea shops in every city (now, you know how much Chinese people love tea), and you can drink and chat with the worker of the tea shop, then decide what’s your favorite.

Chinese Tea

2.Silk

Silk had been brought to Europe since the development of ancient Silk Road, and since then, silk had become the symbol of oriental civilization. Silk can be processed to be clothes, handkerchiefs, scarves, pajamas, decoration products, etc. The top four embroideries in China are Suzhou embroidery, Guangdong embroidery, Sichuan embroidery and Hunan embroidery.

Tips: authentic silk is quite expensive and there are many roadside stands sell fake silk to customer for profit, so it’s recommended to purchase silk in big stores.

3.Porcelain

Well, as the name of “China” reveal, china or porcelain is a symbol deeply rooted foreigners. The most famous porcelain in China is Jingdezhen porcelain. Jingdezhen can be called the capital of Chinese porcelain. You can also purchase it from many boutique stores and shopping malls. Porcelain is very fragile; it must be well packed when you transport it home.

Porcelain

4.Jade, Pearl and It’s Products

Chinese people may be the most fervent fans of jade in the world. There is an old saying in China, “Gold has a value; jade is invaluable”. Thus, traveler can find really good jade or jade products in China. Pearl is also popular among travelers for its good quality and cheap prices. Necklace, bracelet and other handicrafts made of jade or pearl are most popular.

5.Art

Traditional Chinese art like scroll paintings, calligraphy, carvings (jade carving, stone carving, wood carving, etc.) can be bought in the antique market. Major cities often have big antique markets, like Panjiayuan Market in Beijing, Yuyaun Market in Shanghai, Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Market in Chengdu, etc.

6.Antiques

Yes, it’s possible to purchase antiques in China. Both reproductions and real antiques can be bought in antique market. There is no regulation about how many reproduction antiques you can purchase; however, China Customs do have regulations about the real antiques. Real antiques over 100 years old need an export certificate with an official wax seal from the antique store to take out of the country. Antiques dated back before 1795 are prohibited to take out of China.

7.Ethnic Jewelry and Costume

Ethnic jewelry and costume are popular due to its special design and featured ethnic flavor. Most ethnic jewelry are made of silver and colorful marbles, and famous ones are Yi Ethnic silver and Tibetan silver. Travelers can purchase ethnic jewelry in many ethnic areas, like Tibet, Guilin, Sichuan, Guizhou, etc. Costume is also a good choice. Cheongsam, or Qipao is a traditional costume for Chinese female, which often appears in the old movies, and it’s still very popular in China. Qipao can be purchased in most shopping mall, and there are also tailor-made Qipao, which is more expensive yet with better quality. Big cities, like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong can find very good tailor to make Qipao.

Ethnic jewelry

8.All Kinds of Little Gadgets

Normally, in the night market or the tourist areas, there are many street stalls selling all kinds of gadgets. Like mementos of Chairman Mao (e.g. Little Red Book, lighters, matches, etc), facial painting mask, embroidery shoes, Chinese style fans and umbrella, etc.

Chinese Fan

9.Traditional Chinese Medicine

Comparing with western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine has little side effects. Most herbal medicine can tone your body and maintain your health. If you are interested in it, then get a good herbalist doctor and purchase some herbal medicine.

Notice: China Customs has regulations on traditional Chinese medicine for those who exit China. For each outward traveler, if to Hong Kong and Macao, the value of the medicine shall be less than RMB150, and if to foreign countries, the value of the medicine shall be no more than RMB300. Musk and toad are prohibited to bring out of China.

10.Unexpected Thing

In fact, travelers may buy all kinds of things when they leave China, and some of them may sound little surprising. Lao GanMa, a famous condiment in China, is getting more and more popular among foreign people for its delicious flavor. It only sells 1 to 2 US dollar in China, while in US, it may be priced as high as 12 US dollars, so many Lao GanMa fans will buy a whole box when they get back home. Just like Lao GanMa, Latiao, a famous street snacks popular among young people, is also welcomed by many foreign travelers. It’s a flour product which tastes spicy. Another interesting bought by foreign travelers are battery bicycles. These cars are energy saving and flexible, allowing to carry one passenger beside the driver, and highest speed can reach to 60km/h. Batter bicycles are very common in China and it’s rather cheap, normally from US $500 to US $600. It seems like many foreign countries don’t have battery bicycles, so if you are interested in it, you can also ship one of this bicycle back to home.

Lao GanMa

Bargaining Art

Where You Can Bargain

Bargaining can be really fun and it will save you a lot of money if you are good at it. There is no need to feel bad to haggle in China. In China, people love to haggle over the price and the storekeepers will not be offended if you bargain. However, not all places accept bargaining act. Generally, places like shopping malls, supermarket, large stores, department stores or other corporate chains will not accept bargaining. Prices in these places are fixed by the company and the employees have no authority to cut the price. Food business, like restaurants, vegetable markets and snack stands also don’t accept bargaining for the price in this business is rather transparent and fixed. A good way to save money in restaurants is online group-buying rather than bargaining.

How to Get a Real Bargain

1. When you begin to haggle with the seller, try to start counter back with a low price, then negociate the price from that base price, and add a little money when the seller refuse your offer firmly.

2.Purchase with other travelers and order a large quantity of goods can always get yourself a discount price for the goods.

3.Act casual and do not expose your true demand, even if you love the goods very much. If you show your interest to the seller, then there is a great chance that the seller won't make any price concesiion. So it’s best to hide your interest from the seller and suggest that you can buy the goods or just leave it.

4.Shop when there is less people.If the shop is crowded with customers, then it’s not a good time for bargaining. On the one hand, if you counter offer a low price, which is higher than the price limit of the seller and he may accept when there are less customers, the seller normally will not accept the price when there are many customers. If he accepts your price, then other customers will ask for the same price. Besides, one customer is not that important when there are many customers.

5.Purchase just before the store closes.If you buy goods when the seller is going to close the store, then you’ll have a great chance to get a real bargain. Most sellers will not refuse to make one more deal before closing the store, and even the last deal is less profitable than other deals.

6.Shopping around to compare the prices in other shops. If you can’t reach an agreement on the price with the seller, then you can always shop around to see if there are other sellers selling the same goods and find a lower price. By the way, you can always come back to the store if you can’t find cheaper goods and you really love the goods.

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