Shopping in Beijing?
April 16, 2008 12:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to Beijing in May, and want to buy some electronics and other stuff. I wondered if there is a website where I can find prices for different goods, and if there were comparisons to prices in the US/Europe I'd be thrilled. Any other tips are also welcome. (I'm from Norway, so anything will be cheap for me...)
posted by magnusbe to Travel & Transportation around Beijing, China (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You want to be very careful...I'm from Hong Kong and have been to Shanghai and Shenzhen for shopping and though the prices are wonderful, the locals love swindling foreigners. If bargaining and negotiating is not your strong suit, go to the Xi Dan giant shopping mall where the prices are fixed ( and still would be cheap compared to where you come from. I have bought a large plasma flatscreen in Shenzhen for US$400, and an upper-end Casio digital camera for US$150. Unless you are feeling really adventurous, don't buy electronics from open-stall markets because usually you get something that works for like, 5 minutes, and breaks. Oh, and don't be fooled by brand name bags or watches or sunglasses cheaply sold on the street--the Guccis and Burberrys and Rolexes are all fake.

Definitely get a cell phone. The prices are dirt cheap and the models are high-tech and many not even released in the West. Make sure its compatible for use in Norway though, i bought a nice 3G phone once and it turns out America doesn't have 3G.

One final tip is the Chinese in big urban cities are not very friendly to foreigners. They seem inherently suspicious of everyone. I speak perfect Mandarin and look Chinese but as a tourist in Shanghai, I couldn't even get someone to give me directions! They are afraid you want to sell them something or steal their stuff. Good luck!
posted by jessica_m at 2:17 PM on April 16, 2008

I'm from Norway, so anything will be cheap for me...

Yeah, until you get back home and have to pay duty. Since Hong Kong is within China, Jessica didn't have that particular problem.

I think the first thing you need to do before making any plans like this is see what's involved in bringing the stuff back home again. What forms do you have to file, and how much duty (and/or VAT) do you have to pay? You may discover that it ultimately isn't all that cheap in the end.
posted by Class Goat at 2:22 PM on April 16, 2008

Class Goat, I can bring goods for $1200 toll-free.

Also, I think that laptops, PMPs, cameras etc can easily be carried in a way that looks like I brought them with me from Norway. Thanks for the tip in any case.

jessica_m, thanks for the tip for a place with fixed prices. I'm horrible at haggling...
posted by magnusbe at 2:50 PM on April 16, 2008

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