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Beijing Shopping Guide

Beijing offers shopping varieties that are not readily seen in any other cities in China.  In this ancient city, what you can buy is ranging from the world well known brands like Giorgio Armani and Gucci to such little hunks of old Beijing as mud men.  They are completely different in terms of price point but they all give you some unique shopping pleasure that is an embedded part of your China tour.

XiushuiBefore you start your shopping, you should remember one thing: Bargaining is normally acceptable in most of the shops.  Sometimes, bargaining is more enjoyable than the purchase itself.  If you are new to bargaining, then follow me!

Prior Preparation: Being relaxed and ready to enjoy the process are fundamental for you to buy a piece at a price you feel acceptable. Many shopkeepers use a calculator during bargaining, as these can help overcome the language barrier.  If you like, bring your own calculator to expedite the bargaining and purchasing process.

Here are some bargaining tips:

  1. When you prepare to buy an article, you'd better check the price in different shops to get a general idea about the price.
  2. Offer half of the asking price and work from there
  3. Try to find some flaws on the article as an excuse of depreciation
  4. Be stubborn and persistent when bargaining, but keep smiling
  5. Walk away if you find the price unacceptable, you can always come back later.
  6. If the shop man detains you, it may mean he is close to accepting your offer, and with a little more discussion will accept.
  7. Once the shopkeeper accepts your price, do not try to beat him down again since it would be unfair. After all, the shopkeeper has agreed to the price you have proposed.

Completing the bargaining is not the end of the purchase but the beginning of the next critical step: make sure that the article you take is the one you want as there are some dishonest shop keepers who will replace the purchased products with shoddy ones.

In addition to the well known Wangfujing and Xiushui (Silk Market), there are a few big shopping places that attract big crowds.

XiushuiXiushui (Silk Street) is gradually turning itself into a brand. Just one year after the opening of the five-floor Xiushui building, here comes its sister, Xiushui 2. But this new market is not simply another hub for endless copies of world-renowned labels. The four-floor building has more than fifty fancily decorated boutiques (including the nail salons on the third floor), which is one reason why prices here are much higher than at Xiushui 1.

Though you can still spot some "designer" items, most of the things on sale are chic dresses, sandals, blazers, shorts and accessories that are in tune with current trends and are hard to find in other markets.  Sadly, there's not much for the guys, except some jeans. The V Shop on the fourth floor sells low-waist jeans for men and women, starting at around a hundred yuan.  No. 222 boutique on the second floor features sequined leopard-print sandals and Miu Miu white blazers and No. 239 provides custom-made wedding gown services.

Location: 14 Dongdaqiao Lu, 200 meters north of the Guiyou Shopping Center, Chaoyang District

For many Beijingers, Guiyou is a nostalgic place selling high-priced goods of high quality. As one of the oldest such stores, established in 1990, it was the first store in Beijing to sell luxury brands, causing shockwaves in Chinese retail. Guiyou was also the first store in China to open for business during the Spring Festival in the 1990s, further enhancing its groundbreaking reputation.

Situated on the flourishing Jianguomenwai Dajie, the store enjoys the unique advantage of neighbouring many deluxe hotels and convenient transportation at Guest Welcome Road (Yingbinlu), with the subway just steps away.  It is surprising that after stepping into the

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famous store of Guiyou Plaza, there aren't any banners nor streamers with discount slogans. Compared with the noisy and crowded Silk Market (Xiushui) only a few metres away, Guiyou is like a quiet haven for shoppers to recover from fierce bouts of bargaining.

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