Beijing Shopping

Shopping is an integral part of any trip to Beijing. Between the hutongs, the markets, the malls, and the shopping streets, it sometimes seems like you can buy anything here.

Large markets and malls are the lifeblood of Beijing, and they're generally open from 9 am to 9 pm, though hours vary from shop to shop. If a stall looks closed (perhaps the lights are out or the owner is resting),

don't give up. Many merchants conserve electricity or take catnaps when business is slack. Just knock or offer the greeting "ni hao" and, more often than not, the lights will flip on and you'll be invited to come in. Shops in malls have more regular hours and will only be closed on a few occasions throughout the year, such as Chunjie (Chinese New Year) and October’s National Day Golden Week.

Major credit cards are accepted in pricier venues but cash is the driving force here. ATMs abound, however it’s worth noting that before accepting any Mao-faced Y100 notes, most vendors will hold them up to the light, tug at the corners, and rub their fingers along the surface. Counterfeiting is becoming increasingly sophisticated in China, and banks are reluctant to accept responsibility for ATMs that dispense fake notes.

The official currency unit of China is the yuan or renminbi (literally, "the people's currency"). Informally, though, the main unit of currency is called kuai (using "kuai" is the equivalent of saying a "buck" in the United States). On price tags, renminbi is usually written in its abbreviated form, RMB, and yuan is abbreviated as ¥. 1 RMB = 1 Renminbi = 1 Yuan = 1 Kuai = 10 Jiao = 10 Mao = 100 Fen

If you're looking to bargain, head to the markets; Western-style shops generally go by the price tags. Stalls frequented by foreigners often have at least one employee with some degree of fluency in English. In many situations—whether or not there’s a common tongue—the shop assistant will whip out a calculator, look at you to see what they think you'll cough up, then type in a starting price. You're then expected to punch in your offer (start at one third of their valuation). The clerk will usually come down a surprisingly large amount, and so on and so on. A good tip to note is that there's a common superstition in Chinese markets that if you don't make a sale with your first customer of the day, the rest of the day will go badly—so set out early, and if you know you're the first customer of the day, bargain relentlessly.

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Books/ Stationery 2

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Beijing Shopping

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AIKA International Collection Market

  • Antiques/Collectibles

Collectors can spend hours perusing the quiet halls of this large antiques, jade, art and calligraphy market that's just under the South...

Baoguosi Temple Antiques Market

  • Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

This little-known market, atmospherically set in the grounds of Baoguosi Temple, is a smaller, more manageable version of Panjiayuan.

Beijing Curio City

  • Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

This complex has four stories of kitsch and curio shops and a few furniture stores, some of which may actually be selling authentic antiques...

Beijing Postcards

  • Antiques/Collectibles

Run by historians, this small gallery near bustling Nanluoguxiang showcases a small collection of hundred-year-old Beijing maps and photos...

Beijing Silk Shop

  • Textiles/Sewing

Since 1830, the Beijing Silk Shop has been supplying the city with bolts of quality silks and other fabrics. There are tailors on-site...

Beijing Xinshiweiye CD DVD Shop

  • Cameras/Electronics

Easily the most reliable DVD store in the city, this store has plenty of oldies as well as the usual "just released in cinemas" Hollywood...

Best New China

  • Clothing

Showcasing an eclectic collection from more than 100 homegrown designers, Best New China makes a bold statement about China's emerging...

Buy Now Computer Shopping Mall

  • Cameras/Electronics

Buy Now (or Bainaohui) is home to hundreds of stalls selling laptops, PCs, iPods, speakers, phones, and just about any electonic malarkey...

Candy & Caviar

  • Clothing

Chinese-American fashion designer Candy Lin owns and operates this gem. From her peaceful and professional store, she designs for both...

China World Mall

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

Nothing embodies Beijing's lusty embrace of luxury goods quite like China World Mall, which is home to a giant branch of the Hong Kong...

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