How To Bargain in China's Fake Markets

By Josh Peachey, October 16, 2016

23 1

Many people want to get their hands on some fake goods while in China, whether it be Louis Vuitton handbags, Burberry clutch bags, Rolexes, Yeezys or Ray bans. 

Fake markets, like the Hongqiao Market and Silk Market in Beijing, Luohu Commercial City in Shenzhen or the market at the Shanghai Science at Technology Metro station (one of the main Shanghai markets now after the closure of Nanjing Xi Lu's) are havens for fairly good knock-offs. Even though the items are convincing copies, you shouldn't be paying anywhere near as much money as you would for real deal. This is a backstreet Chinese market, not an LA shopping mall.

Even the sellers at the fake markets will try to rip you off if you don’t go in with your wits about you. Their business rests on getting as much money out of naïve, unsuspecting foreigners as possible. So here are some tried and tested tips to help you wise up before you go.

Shoes at the Fake Market in Shanghai

1. Be confident

Confidence is an unparalleled trait to have when entering a stall at the markets. It’s valuable noting that these sellers are going to make a profit on almost everything they sell, irrespective of the price. Look fairly interested in something you want to buy but avoid leaping towards it, professing how much you want to buy it; such over-enthusiasm will immediately signal to the seller that you will pay more than you should.

Fake Market in Shanghai

2. Don’t take the bait

As a general rule, when you ask how much something will cost and the seller replies how much do you want it for, DO NOT SAY. This may seem obvious but is often forgotten. You want to find out what his asking price is first as to avoid hazarding a stab in the dark and getting ripped off. Once they have made the first move, laugh, and divide it by at least 10. The lower you start, the lower you can bring the price down. Even if they say you’re being ridiculous, don’t believe them.

Watches at the Shanghai Fake Market

3. Be cheeky

Sellers of fake goods will undoubtedly try to persuade you that their products are the ‘best quality’ you will find or ‘real leather’ – they’re not. They’re fakes and you should always remember that when bartering. If the seller is being stubborn, be cheeky. Tell him or her that you’re well aware that the product is fake and they got them for far cheaper. It tells the seller that you’re not an idiot and gives off the perception you know what you’re doing… even if you don’t and you’ve just read this advice.

Purses at the Shanghai Fake Market

4. Be in control

It’s good to build a rapport with the seller, seeming intrigued but not too keen. Once it’s clear that you are interested in buying and have set your offer on the table, walking off after at least five minutes of haggling is a formidable technique. With a blasé shrug of the shoulders, say “Oh never mind, I’m not going to spend more than RMB100. I’ll go find it for cheaper somewhere else. Thank you anyway,” and casually stroll out of the shop.

You’ll start to see the seller’s frustrations grow and he or she will usually make you a better offer almost instantly. If it’s still not want you want, keep walking until they shout down the corridor a price that you’re happy with.  This may not work every time, but when it does, you’ll be grinning all the way home knowing full well you won the bartering battle.

Kobe Jersey at the Shanghai Fake Market

5. Speak a bit of Chinese

More often than not, you can manage perfectly well speaking English. Market sellers tend to have better language skills than most but that doesn’t mean that a big of Chinese won’t go a long way. It may warm them up, impress them or entertain them. If you charm them with good conversation, they’ll be more likely to offer you a good deal. Here are some basic phrases that will come in handy.

  • Hello = Nǐ hǎo 你好

  • I don’t understand = Tīng bù dǒng 听不懂

  • How much does it cost? = Duō shǎo qián? 多少钱

  • Too expensive = Tài guì le 太贵了

  • I don’t want it = Bù yào 不要

  • A little cheaper = Piányí yīdiǎn 便宜一点

  • Thank you = Xièxiè 谢谢


This article originally appeared on our sister site, Urban Family. All images by Josh Peachey/Urban Family

more news

Learn Everything You Need to Know About Studying Abroad

Learn everything you need to know about studying abroad from this lecture at Baoku Jiangxin Art Center on June 28.

Secret Stories Behind Chinese Stuff Revealed in This Photobook

Why are thermoses so popular in China? And what's the deal with all those red lanterns? This book is here to answer your questions.

8 Awesome China Travel Deals for This Spring

Dragon Adventures have prepared eight of the best places for an escape from the city.

Adriana Hosts Yet Another Fun All-Girls Basketball Tournament

Adriana recently hosted the third 'Just Ball' Tournament and it was another fun and challenging basketball competition.

Useful Mandarin Phrases for Spring Festival and the Year of the Pig

Handy phrases to help you survive Chinese New Year.

WATCH: A Revolutionary Way to Learn Chinese

Everything you need to know about the 'Slow Motion Technique.'

This Week in History: China Ends the Eunuch Era

Finally banned in 1924, the system had endured for over 3,000 years and through 25 dynasties.

RSVP Now to Get a Free Gift Bag at Archwalk's Christmas Shindig!

Don't miss this fun-filled, family-friendly Christmas extravaganza next month!

1 User Comments

    In Case You Missed It…

    We're on WeChat!

    Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

    7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

    Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

    Subscribe

    Download previous issues

    Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

    Visit the archives

    Get the App. Your essential China city companion.