Buying rugs in China

May 29th, 2001, 05:56 PM
Joseph Callahan
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Buying rugs in China

We are planning a trip to China including HongKong. Anyone have any information or experience in buying rugs in China i.e. places, costs(can we barter?), quality, and shipping them home.
May 29th, 2001, 11:10 PM
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I actually bought a 600 knot 100% silk rug when I visited China in Sept of 2000. Good rule of thumb, when in doubt always barter, and barter HARD! Especially on expensive items such as these. You should check out local prices for guidance. You should expect to get them much more cheaply there. Wool or wool/silk mixtures are common everywhere. When you get into all silk carpets the knots/inch raises the price. The highest I believe is 600 knots/inch. If your picking up a small piece you could probably do carryon & possible avoid the import tax, which I did. Good Luck.
Jun 1st, 2001, 02:46 PM
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We bought a 3 x 5 silk rug in Beijing last year in one of the shops in the Silk Alley. We paid $350 and our guide thought it was worth at least $700. Don't be afraid to walk away. We folded it and carried it in our luggage as silk isn't as heavy as wool. Have fun.
Jun 24th, 2001, 04:08 PM
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We bought a silk rug in Xian 3 years ago.
Make sure you have plenty of time to 'barter hard', it's worth it.
Also, be sure to research carpets, prices, etc. before leaving home. I went to a reputable dealer in the USA before my trip and did some research. It paid off.
We purchased an 8x8 carpet, too big to carry. We arranged to have it shipped, 'autographed' the back. Our carpet arrived in a few weeks.

Apr 14th, 2002, 02:53 AM
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Karen - I just bought a rug and a bunch of large porcelain items today. How did you ship your rug home? I bought at a small ship without shipping facilities.
Apr 14th, 2002, 06:26 AM
Peter N-H
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There's a mention above which suggests that when deciding a fair price, the guide's opinion should be taken into account.

In general no source of information other than the shopkeeper himself could be less reliable.

The principal source of income for tour guides is the commissions paid by shops and stalls on items purchased by those they bring there. The higher the price, the more the income. Commissions are also paid by restaurants and even by major tour sights. The income from these kick-backs has now become so great that some tour companies are requiring the guides to pay them to take tour groups, rather than the other way around.

If you are happy with the price you paid for goods, and if the price paid compares favourably with that for the same products at home, fair enough. The advice to research prices and quality before you leave is very good advice, but even so it should not be used to judge what you should pay in China.

Shopkeepers at tourist markets such as the Beijing silk market are far more canny than you are. The first asking price for an item may be Y180, but if you think you've done well to pay Y90, you'd be wrong. Y35 or less would be right.

Peter N-H

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