by Toffler



What to shop for in China

March 14, 2009, by TofflerN, category Tourism, Uncategorized

Another question was asked on that same site for travelers (, this one about what to buy in China.  Below is my response, assuming the person is shopping as a consumer and not as a wholesaler or exporter.  So below is a list of some things a traveler might buy on a trip to China.

Traditional/specialty Chinese products
Tea (Green, oolong, pu’er)
Qipao (Chinese style dress)
Freshwater Pearls
Name chop
Calligraphy Set
Chinese design/antique furniture

Manufactured items
Fake handbags, clothes, shoes
Electronics (both real and fake)

Scarves (silk, wool, viscose)
Terracotta figurines
Great Wall/Olympic t-shirt
Mao Memorabilia
Other Mao, antique, Chinese kitsch
Chinese style paintings

Clothes, shoes
Get your favorite clothes copied
Have items copied out of a magazine
Wedding dress in 1 day for a fraction of the price of off-the-rack back home

Generally speaking, I don’t recommend buying art in China unless you find a piece you really like, because most of it is very commercialized, overpriced, and likely a copy. (There’s an entire city in S. China solely devoted to hand copying works of art, but in a manner that would make Adam Smith proud.)

2 Rules of Thumb
Everything (namely price) is negotiable–do not hesitate to bargain.
Nothing should cost more than 100RMB (except furniture and tailor-made dresses)

This is my speciality so if you need help shopping or bargaining around Shanghai (and soon to be Beijing as well), please visit my other site:

If you think I’ve left anything out, please feel free to add it in comments below.

One Comment

  1. Ray |

    “Everything (namely price) is negotiable–do not hesitate to bargain”

    I couldn’t help laughing! LOL

So, what do you think ?