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10 Tips on How to Bargain in China

Want to learn how to bargain in China? As a tourist no matter where you go, you’re probably going to be paying a premium. Tourist traps are everywhere, and if you don’t know where the locals shop, it’s hard to find good deals.

Especially in Chinese markets where products compared to America is already quite cheap, you might feel like it’s already a great price, but you can be getting an even better deal! Here is how you can bargain for the best prices.

Source: tongue_cheek

Source: tongue_cheek

#1 Never take the first price

Shopkeepers expect you to bargain! The price they tell you first will always be the highest price they think you would be willing to pay.

Of course, this price changes based on their perception of you. The more foreign and wealthy you look the higher that price will be.

#2 Compare prices

Look around a bit, but don’t bargain. Just compare the variety of product, quality, and price that other stores give you.

Although many stores can appear to be selling the same product. The quality can be vastly different based on the supplier they have.

There’s also just in general so much products and variety you’ll never know what you’ll find so take a thorough look beside you decide to commit to one store and start bargaining!

Source: foreignercn

Source: foreignercn

#3 Show no emotion

Don’t be too excited when you see something you like. If you go to your friend “omg look! I finally found it” They might not understand, but they can definitely read your expression, and that can drive up the price a lot.

From there it’ll be even harder to negotiate prices since they know you want it.

#4 Point out the flaws

Make sure to point out all the flaws on anything you buy, even if you don’t mind it. Be picky! Point out the frayed edges, stain, imperfections, uneven design, crack, anything at all.

For clothing and leather goods you can just feel the material and make a face to show you’re dissatisfied with the quality. Pull out loose strands.

If we’re honest, most of these problems are easy fixes, but by doing all these things, you’ll drive the price down quite a bit.

Source: mandarinzone

Source: mandarinzone

#5 Say it’s expensive

Whatever price they start with say this phrase “tai gui le,” which means “too expensive.” Make sure to act like your absolutely appalled that it’s this price.

In most cases, they’ll say it’s not but also immediately cut the price down after. They assume you don’t know the usual price of the item, but if you say that it implies that you know what the base price usually is.

#6 Pretend to walk away

Another useful trick when you feel like the price should be lower is to walk away.

Most of the times the owner will run after you offering the price you want or the best deal she can give you.

Of course, only do this if the price is really not low enough for you because she might jus let you walk away and there’s no going back from there. Which brings me to my next point…

#7 One-shot

There’s no going back after you leave the shop. If you negotiate first and, you think you can get cheaper elsewhere and leave the store.

But you realize it’s more expensive elsewhere and come back to the original store you’ll have no power left.

They know that they have the best deal and you have to buy at the price you negotiated earlier or just let it go

#8 Prepare smaller bills

If you’re going to purchase a lot of cheap items, make sure to prepare smaller bills to prevent being scams.

There have been situations where people give 100 yuan bills and then the shop owner will be like no you only give me 50. Avoid situations like that by providing as close to the amount as possible.

#9 Go to the top floor

This may seem like an odd tip, but many of these discount markets are over five floors.

The first few floors get the most action since there’s just so much stuff most people finish their shopping trip by the 3rd floor, so shops on the higher floors are desperate to make sales.

You may want to look at the first few floors to compare prices, but actually, bargain and make deals on the higher floors.

#10 Confidence

Don’t waver! Speak and act with confidence. The shop keepers are professionals, so they’ll take advantage of you if they see that you’re uncertain.

If you ever bargained in China, what’s the best deal you got?

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Monica Guan

Monica Guan

Monica is a Canadian-Chinese travel blogger and marketer that has spent time in beijing, nanjing, guangzhou, shenzhen, hangzhou,and xitang, shanghai. When she isn't watching YouTube videos, you can find her writing or creating videos.
Monica Guan