Shopping in China
If you are looking for souvenirs from China you should read this.
China is a shopping paradise. The country has large avenues, shopping centers and endless markets where you can find clothes, electronics, crafts and other products, both imitation and originals. Its main characteristic is that, in addition to having the opportunity to find very cheap products, the country invites haggling, so the price in many occasions will be really low.
Clothing is one of the most sought-after items on a trip to China, as well as the fact that the country has factories where items for international brands are made, it is also known to have some of the best replicas. The same applies to watches or electronics, although in the latter it is important to ask for a guarantee.
Undoubtedly, the most valuable products have to be their crafts, because China is known worldwide for its ceramics, especially its porcelain. Also for its embroidery, chopsticks and for its great variety of teas. Most of these products can be found in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong.
Due to the pollution of large cities, the sale of cans or bottles of compressed air has become fashionable in recent years. This is one of the strangest products you can find in the country, although it serves as a unique gift. In itself, the bottles contain only air and were created as a protest against serious environmental problems.
China was one of the first Asian countries to use the namesake chopsticks. Although originally used to remove food from large pots, they were then used for eating, since many of the foods consumed were bitesize and knives were not needed. During the Shang Dynasty, they began to become popular, so this custom spread to neighbouring countries such as Japan and Southeast Asia. In addition to finding them in all restaurants, whether they are on the street or in closed premises, chopsticks can also be bought at many of the souvenir shops, where they will be decorated with typical country motifs, as well as in home stores.
China is known for being one of the worlds biggest clothes producers. It is also known for producing some of the best fake name brands in the market, so in its big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong are full of streets with shopping centres where you can find all kinds of clothes and accessories. One of the places most frequented by shoppers is the silk market of Xuishui, in the capital. Here, there are more than 1,700 stalls with shirts, dresses, pants and shoes of recognized firms at a good price. Other emblematic streets for shopping are Wangfujing and Dashilan & New Qianmen. In Shanghai do not miss Nanjing Avenue, one of the longest in China. The flea markets have also become very popular. They are usually located in public squares where you can find clothing, watches and other accessories at affordable prices.
Crafts in China have a long tradition. Some of the best-known products are its ceramics, especially porcelain, which has been manufactured since the Shang Dynasty when they invented their own production methods. White porcelain pieces are particularly popular, while those with blue or pink motifs are considered works of art. Enamel pottery can also be found as decoration throughout the country, especially those that are tricolour with which figures of people, animals and utensils are made. Other handmade products that can be bought in China are handmade embroidery, origami, lanterns, kites, as well as a reproduction of Xi'an’s terracotta warriors. The latter can be found in the Xi'an Antique Market, in the Muslim quarter.
One of the most popular products in China are electronics because the country has local brands with a good reputation and at a good price. In Beijing, head to Zhon Guan Cun, a technological centre that is compared with the American Silicon Valley. This is where many of the country's computer, electronics and mobile stores are located, making it possible to buy some of the latest devices on the market. In Guangzhou, it is also possible to find markets with this type of products. Due to the number of imitations that are manufactured in the country, if you are looking for original products then the best option is to go shopping in Hong Kong. Both Times Square and Sai Yeung Choi Street have a lot of electronics and mobile phone stores. The best prices, however, are in Shenzhen, called the city of electronics, because this is where many of the products are made for large international brands.
China has a great variety of teas, it is one of the delicacies of the country and it is possible to find it in many tearooms, restaurants and specialized stores. These include green tea, which they use to prevent some cardiovascular diseases, obesity or diabetes; black tea, which is the one with the highest caffeine content; white tea, with antioxidant properties; yellow, whose properties are similar to green; as well as jasmine, chrysanthemums and amaranth tea. Although it is possible to buy tea all over the country, in Beijing, Maliandao Street has more than a thousand stores selling all kinds of Chinese tea varieties. Some of the most famous are the Long Jing, Mao Feng, Bi Luo Chun and the Yin Zhen.