ver the past three weeks, I’ve had the pleasure (or, in some cases, displeasure) of frequenting the top Shanghai fake markets – Science and Technology (S&T) Museum, Nanjing Rd, Qipu Rd, and Yu Yuan Gardens. I purposely left out the fabric market on Lujiabang Rd because that is highlighted in my guide to the Shanghai Fabric Market. What I’d like to do with this post is consolidate a guide on each of these fake markets – opinions, rankings, locations, and a tips on negotiation strategies. For those who want to take the fun out of the game, I also consolidated a list of prices you should be paying at Shanghai fake markets. So here below you find the ocations of fake markets in Shanghai:

Science and Technology Museum Market

Go to the Science and Technology Museum metro stop on Line 2. The market is inside of the metro station once you go up the steps from the metro. You won’t miss it. Everything is on the 1st floor (if you consider the metro as the basement).

580 West Nanjing Rd

Located between the People’s Square Metro (line 2) and West Nanjing (line 2) metro stations. If you get out at People’s Square, head west on Nanjing Rd for 10 minutes, walk past the Porsche dealership and you will see the market on your right. There are 4 stories of stores. This choice may be controversial because popular sentiment would show the S&T Museum market being #1. However, I choose 580 Nanjing Rd because of the quality of the fake clothes. You can find knock-off coats and jeans that are very similar to the real thing. In fact, I prefer to buy my casual coats from this market rather than from the Lujiabang fabric market. You can also get you fix of electronics, games, software, watches, toys and trinkets here. For those interested, there is also a food court inside of the market and restaurants outside of the market. The downside of this market is that the salespeople are pushier and less willing to negotiate than at the S&T Museum market. Also, it isn’t as convenient to get to as the S&T market. Science and Technology Museum Market – Again, the popular choice for many people who have been to all of these markets. It has everything and is convenient. I rank it lower because I don’t feel as though the quality of clothes match up with those seen at 580 Nanjing Rd. However, I have to admit that I like the convenience of this market and feel like the prices I get at S&T are slightly better than at Nanjing Rd. Like most fake markets, there isn’t much separating one clothing store from another or one electronics store from another, so, after going down one row of stores, you’ve pretty much seen them all. An added benefit of the S&T market is that you can also get jewelry (high and low quality) as well as custom clothing. It really is the most comprehensive market.

Qipu Rd

Located between the Baoshan Rd (line 3,4) and East Nanjing Rd (line 2) metro stops.  It is also near the Qufu Rd (line 8 ) stop. However, there is an added benefit to taking the Baoshan Rd metro that I will tell you about later. From the Baoshan Rd exit, head south on Baoshan Rd for about 15 minutes by foot until you see Qipu Rd. Baoshan Rd will turn to Henan Rd part-way through your walk. You will know you are there when you see a crowd of people to your left and right. From East Nanjing Rd, head north on Henan Rd for about 15 minutes until you see Qiu Rd. Qipu Rd – I don’t recommend this market at all. The salespeople here are VERY pushy and the quality of goods is low. Most of what you see here isn’t necessarily fake, but it is of low quality and some are even dirty. This market is more popular for locals looking to buy cheap clothes than it is for foreigners looking to buy fake products. The products are really limited to clothing and some small crafts. Don’t go here for electronics, software, games, DVDs, or really anything other than cheap clothes. Also, you need to watch out for pick-pockets here. I didn’t see any items here that interested me and I was ready to leave after a few minutes of sales people running up to me to take me to stores.

Yu Yuan Gardens

Later this year, there will be a Yu Yuan Metro stop on line 10, but until then you will need to walk a bit from either the Nanjing East Station (line 2) or Dashijie Station (line 8). No matter what your choice is, you still might want to take a taxi from these metro stations (or one close to Yu Yuan Gardens) due to the construction in the area.While you can get fake items here, they are primarily of the Chinese variety – fake jewelry, copied dolls, etc. Of course, you can walk with the sales people offering “watches, bags, shoes” to get copies of western brands. Be careful here, there is a fine line between jewelry that costs 1000 RMB and jewelry that costs 10 RMB. Unfortunately, it is harder to find electronics, video games, software and DVDs from this market. The positives include the variety of shops, the quality of goods in some of the shops, the atmosphere, and the garden that the market surrounds. The downside is that there are a lot of pick-pockets and it is easier to get ripped off. If I am looking to buy something “cultural” for friends and family back home, I would likely shop at this market.

Silk Street

(Chinese: 秀水街; pinyin: Xiùshuǐjiē, aka Silk Market, Silk Street Market) is a shopping center in Beijing that accommodates over 1,700 retail vendors, notorious among international tourists for their wide selection of counterfeit designer brand apparels. The Silk Street attracts approximately 20,000 visitors daily (from 9am to 9pm) on weekdays and between 50,000 and 60,000 on weekends as of 2006. This 35,000-square-meter complex houses 1,700 retail vendors and over 3,000 salespeople spread over seven floors with three levels of basements. Many of the stalls have, over the years, gained local and international reputation for selling counterfeit luxury designer brands at relatively low prices. Some have carried on this trademark despite growing pressures from the management, the Chinese government and famous brand-name companies. Opened on March 2005, and replacing the old alley-based Xiushui Market, the current Silk Street establishment has diversified their business scope. In addition to selling fashion apparels and accessories such as hats, handbags, shoes, belts, sportswear and silk fabrics like their predecessor, the new Silk Street has introduced traditional Chinese handicrafts.

Yaxiu Market

Is very similar to the Silk Market, but the prices are much lower since it is frequented by Beijing locals. Sits in west Sanlitun between the Village and the Worker’s Stadium North gate. If you are looking to mix with Beijingers and willing to attempt Chinese then this is the place to come!

(Bonus) Baoshan Metro Station

On my way back from QiPu Rd, I ran into a market that sells fake phones, cameras, computers, and other electronics. Walk out to 702 Qujiang Rd and enjoy the surrounding stores. I can’t attest to the quality of the goods, but this could be a good place to go if you are in the market for any fake electronics. If you take the Baoshan Metro Station, you can knock off Qipu Rd and this market during the same trip. However, I would recommend you bypass both and go to one of the top 3 fake markets.

 Negotiation Strategies at Fake Markets

While this is partially self promotion, become informed of what you should pay by checking out my ongoing post on the lowest prices for items at Shanghai fake markets. The process at the fake markets is a lot smoother if you go in, name your price and don’t hesitate with your prices. If the sales people know that you know your stuff, they won’t play games with you and will typically sell to you quickly. However, if you pause or give thought when they initially look shocked, you will be in for longer negotiations and will likely pay more than you need to. The choice is yours. If you don’t know what an item costs, go to one place, ask for the price, say it is too much, see the next offered price, and then leave the store. When you leave, the sales person will give you a final offer. Remember this final price and go to the next shop that has the same item. Once you see the item, offer roughly 25%-40% off of the last store’s final offer price. This should be roughly on target with the optimal price you should be paying. Use your common sense in adjusting this 25% – 40%. You may want to start at 40%, get rejected, and then adjust for the next store until you find the sweet spot – the lowest price you can purchase the product at without getting rejected. Continue moving up in price until you get the item you want. Remember, getting rejected is actually a good thing. It means you won’t be paying too much at that price and you are consolidating information for the next vendor you visit. Don’t buy from the first vendors you see. I typically buy from stores that are in the back of markets without people around. This is a business and the stores at the front or with prime positioning make more money – therefore, they are less needy when it comes to negotiations.
The stores without customers and without prime locations will do more for a sale and will be more willing to negotiate with you. Don’t go during prime-time. Along with point #3, you want to buy from vendors when it is a buyer’s market. If there are fewer customers available, the sales people will be needier and more willing to negotiate. The best time to go would be during a Tuesday / Wednesday on a cold and rainy day. Don’t expect perfection from your items. Some of your clothes will fall apart, some of your software won’t work, some of your DVDs won’t be viewable, and some of your watches won’t tell the correct time – it is all part of the process. Don’t get mad.
This is why you are paying 10% of the normal price. I don’t buy fake watches anymore because I can’t live with a watch that is 99% right. However, I am willing to live with clothes that are 99% right. The sales people aren’t generally mad at you. However, they know that getting mad will lead some customers to stop negotiating or think that the price will make the sales person lose money. The sales person will NEVER lose money off of you. Don’t believe the line that you are buying under cost price. If the sales person was losing money, she wouldn’t be selling the product. If you were offering too low of a price, she would say “no” and sell it to someone else. Treat the sales people with respect. I know this is hard when some grab at you, some yell at you, and some talk behind your back, but just remember that these people are fighting for salaries that are likely less than 100 RMB / day.
If a sales person seems nice to you, don’t lose sleep about paying 5 RMB too much. It is likely that it is going to help him more it will help you. If someone approaches you outside of a shop to take you to get “watches, bags, shoes”, don’t go with him. He will do one of two things: take you to his store or get commission for taking you to a store. Either way, you run the risk of paying more than you would without a sales person escorting you to the store. Also, depending on where you are and where the sales person takes you, you could get yourself into danger. Compare prices at fake markets to what you would believe it should cost. I try to determine what I believe a product is truly worth before I begin negotiations. Recently, I bought a portable iphone charger that I could have bought in the USA from Amazon for $10 USD. When I went to the fake market, I was initially given a price of 180 RMB. Using this logic, I knew that I was roughly willing to pay about 70% of the USA price due to the likelihood that the product will break. I got it for 40 RMB and paid close to the maximum of what I was willing to pay. If I didn’t have this in mind, I may have ended up paying 100 RMB for the item.
If you list a price and the salesperson gives you another price, you will be able to get the item at your listed price 95% of the time. For example, if you are talking to the sales person and he offers you 100 RMB and you offer 50 RMB and he looks shocked and offers you 80 RMB, you will get it for 50 RMB. Don’t change your price. The sales person has already decided that he will accept your offer at 50 RMB and is looking to get some more money out of you. Walk out if he continues to negotiate with you. Again, 95% of the time, he will run after you to bring you back. If he says “no” right away and doesn’t continue negotiations with you, your price is too low.
Bump it up for the next vendor. Don’t worry about speaking Chinese. You won’t get special prices for speaking a few words of Mandarin. At these markets, the sales people will sell to you if they can make a profit and won’t if they can’t. It’s that simple. If you believe you are getting a “special friend” price because you can say “ni hao”, you are being naive rather than smart. The only thing speaking Mandarin will do is bump down the initial offer price to you. It will have no bearing on whether they accept / decline your final price. Ultimately, don’t worry about getting “ripped off” on a few items. If you bought an item and you were initially happy with the price, you got a good deal. No problem. Again, the value of your “loss” is more valuable to the sales person than the loss to you. (By Mike)