Friday Nov 02, 2007

Beijing Silk Market - Shopping & Bargain Paradise

Beijing Silk Market (a.k.a. Xiushui Silk Market) is a multi-floor shopping complex in the Beijing Downtown. It is famous for fake branded goods such as Coach and Prada purse, RayBan glasses, iPod, Silk scarves, Jeans and you name it. It's also famous for extreme bargaining. And you may be surprised how extreme is extreme by reading the tips below along with a table of comparative prices paid.

It is directly connected from the Yong'anli Subway station on Line of Subway.

Here are the basic shopping tips that I learned by talking to others and practiced during my shopping stint:

  1. Each item has three prices - Printed, American and Chinese. Typically Printed and American price are the same, may be American price slightly lower. The Chinese price is typically 50-70% of the American price. The first quote from the shopkeeper will be based upon your skin color. However the most important rule is to NEVER buy at any of the first quote price. Always quote a price that is 10% of the Chinese price and then haggle your way up. Going up is only an additional buffer and is not a necessary step. In any case, don't pay more than 15-20% of the Chinese price. You may find it ridiculous but it worked in most of the cases as you can see from the table of comparative prices below.
  2. Some of the commonly used phrases to indicate the stage of bargain are - Joking price (when the shopkeeper find the price is ridiculous), Final price (quoted multiple times from the shopkeeper, sometimes final final price) and Yes or No price (mostly used to quote the final price from the shopkeeper). You can pretty much ignore the first two prices and consider third one slightly seriously (see next point) if you are interested in the item.
  3. Be ready to NOT to buy irrespective of the item and you might end up buying it for a ridiculously low price.
  4. This is an important one. If the price is not meeting your expectation, WALK away from the shop. It may be hard to do it sometimes because you may like the item very much but force yourself out of the shop. There is a high likelihood that you'll be physically pulled in the shop so don't feel offended but stick to your price. If need be, pretend walking out of the shop and you'll see the shopkeeper shouting from the behind with your price. It's important to confirm and double confirm the price and especially the currency ;-)
  5. The magic word is "moment". If you hear this word from the shopkeeper, which most likely will be the case, that means you are likely in a position to strike a deal at your price.
  6. Some of the shopkeepers get really angry and start throwing items (mostly with clothes) around. Don't budge, this is just a tactic to show they are upset and instead keep smiling and stick to your price.
  7. Buying more than one item will get you a better price. As the prices are ridiculously cheap, it's worth buying more than one and gift it back home.
  8. A key rule is to bargain with smile and that will improve your chances of meeting your price :)

Here is a comparative table of quoted and paid prices for some of the items:

Item Quoted Paid
Silk Scarves 650 55
Denim Jacket (heavy embroidery) 1200 180
Kimono 450 40
Denim Jeans (with embroidery) 450 35
Silk Two-piece Dress for Kids 600 50

Happy shopping & bargaining!

Technorati: traveltips shopping silkmarket beijing bargain

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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.


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