Useful Tips

How to bargain in China - tips, features and prices


When visiting China, you can not ignore the topic of shopping. If you do not know the rules of how to bargain in China, then you will not succeed in shopping. You must also be able to buy inexpensively, as sellers do everything to sell their goods at a higher price. Quite often, after trips to China, tourists are disappointed in shopping, as they buy for frequent items at a price for which you can buy in Russia. Let's understand the rules of trade, and start with the background.

Having arrived in Beijing for the first time and having gone on a cultural program, we went shopping. Shops in the center of Beijing frankly disappointed us, walking along Wangfujing Street we saw quite high prices, and Chinese-style clothes for their market with emblems of their brands. Then we went to Yabaolu Street, there are many shops on this street where Russian wholesalers buy clothes, having visited several stores and found out the prices for the goods, we were disappointed, because the price was high. But in one of the stores we decided to buy two pairs of ski gloves, we selected the right ones and bought a little bargain with the seller, we bought inexpensively (as we thought then) two pairs for 200 yuan (translating into rubles, this amounted to 1000 rubles for two pairs). Literally three days later, for the same money, we bought two high-quality ski suits, as they say, feel the difference. The experience gained later made it possible to make inexpensive purchases in Hunchun.

So, if you plan to buy something in China inexpensively, then do not count on a quick and easy purchase, as you will have to bargain for every thing. Going up to the seller and asking why the goods, you will probably hear the astronomical amount, many literally having thrown off they get the seller’s consent and buy the thing in three ways, if the seller still smiles at you and says how good you are, that you bought it cheaply, then know that this is often not the case, if you bought a thing in China for a low price, the seller will not smile at you. Always know how much it costs with us before buying a thing. After hearing the astronomical price from the seller, tell him your price, usually it is at least half the price of the cost of goods in Russia. So when buying a ski suit, the seller informed us that the suit costs 1000 yuan, for which we made big eyes and said that we would give a maximum of 80 yuan. In response, they heard that there were no such prices at all and he was ready to sell us at least 500 yuan, we turned and started to leave, for which the seller gave the calculator and, with the words (minimum) the price of 350 yuan, we entered him on the calculator 90 with the words maximo (which means maximum), in the end, after several minutes of indescribable dialogue, they agreed on a price of 100 yuan, which made us very happy and added that we would also buy the second one at the same price. There was an attempt to raise the price for the second suit again, but we defended, citing that we were taking already two suits.

The purchase of each item took several minutes, not a single item was bought quickly, but the price was dropped at times.

So, 5 rules how to bargain in China:

  1. Know how much this product costs with us.
  2. Be able to quickly convert the yuan in rubles into the mind in your mind or wear a calculator, otherwise you will simply be confused.
  3. Do not expect to buy quickly and inexpensively, an inexpensive purchase does not happen quickly.
  4. Never betray that you liked a thing, the Chinese are excellent psychologists, if they see a “gleam in your eyes”, then you will not bargain much, pretend that you do not need this thing at all and you just came to see it.
  5. If you didn’t manage to buy right away, then come back later, sometimes from the second or third call you can buy the right thing.

Moral standards

In the minds of most Russians, the process of trade is closely connected with greed, and, therefore, with something indecent. The Chinese have no such idea, they have a different culture. If you are bargaining, then nobody will look at you askew.

Most of our fellow citizens consider the seller’s goal to be an attempt by the seller to cash in more and save the buyer more. The process itself is perceived as a duel between them. It is such a view that gives rise to all negative.

Let's remove greed from this process, and everything will immediately become rainbow and beautiful. For example, you go to the counter and ask for the price of an item. You are given a figure of 50 yuan. No need to think about how much you are trading and saving. This will make you feel like a greedy person, and most of us have taught that greed is bad.

Call the price you think is fair. If you think that the object does not cost more than 10, then call the figure 10 Chinese yuan.

Such a strategy often leads to a positive result. Look around, stores in Russia take clothes that cost 100 rubles, put a price tag of 500 rubles, and declare a 30% discount. And surprisingly, shopping lovers “peck” at it. And all because of greed. Replace greed for justice in your attitude, and you will always buy everything at the best price.

The first important rule of decency - do not bargain for what you do not want to buy. If you have no serious intention to purchase an item, then there’s no point in starting a conversation about its price. The Chinese are not used to buying something just because it is cheap. We will now say a possibly unpleasant thing for readers. This habit of “gathering” is purely Russian, and it causes a strong hostility among most foreigners.

The second one. If you named your price, and you were given this price, then you need to buy the goods. Of course, there is no such law that obliges this to be done. But if you bargained for the right price, but don’t take the goods, then this behavior is considered very uncultured in all countries.

In their manner of bargaining, the Chinese differ from other peoples, especially from Arabs and Turks. If you are trading with an Arab trader, then it is considered correct that you should respond to its reduction in the desired price by increasing your desired price.

That is, he says 50, you say 20, he says 45, and then ... ... They believe that you should say something more than 20. If you say 20 again, they begin to be offended. The Chinese do not take offense and do not protest.

What you must do before you start trading

The first thing you need to decide for yourself is how many such items you want to buy. For example, you want to buy a beautiful national Chinese fan. Determine for yourself exactly whether you need a second? This is important, because during the trading process you are likely to get an offer to buy cheaper, but two or three pieces.

Buying unnecessary things is not the smartest strategy. As soon as you receive such an offer, you will be ready to refuse or accept it, based on a pre-planned plan. If you understand in advance that you want to buy two fans, then start bargaining for one.

Be sure to point to a specific item before the start of trading. Do not misunderstand. No need to point to a shelf with shirts, but point to a specific shirt.

The Chinese always believe that they have the right to interpret the discrepancies in their favor. You can get into a situation where the merchant at the end will give you the cheapest thing that he has had for a year.

And the last thing to determine is your target price, or, as they say, “target price”. That is, the price that you consider fair and are willing to pay for the goods.

Target pricing in China

This is a difficult task, because you do not work in production and do not know the cost of various goods. Of course, you can focus on prices in Russia, believing that everything is cheaper in China, but even this method does not give an exact answer.

It is a great success if there is a “fix price” store on the market, this greatly facilitates the task. If so, then go there and see the price, and then boldly take 25-40% from it. This will be the target price for trading in ordinary shops.

Prices are very different from market to market. The most common recommendation is to buy souvenirs at the end of the trip, when you will already be better guided in the cost of goods in China.

Target prices for some products we can tell. Magnet can be bought for 1 yuan for a little thing. Different hats in the form of pandas and the like - 10 yuan. Souvenir plates are also 10 yuan. But such crafts, as in the photo on the right, are generally unclear how much they should cost. After all, they are made, in fact, of garbage.

Trading process

You do not need to speak Chinese or know the characters for this. All communication takes place using a conventional electronic calculator. He is gaining his price, you write your own, and so on.

You can immediately boldly write your target price, and write it constantly, that is, not inferior in your requirements. This strategy works even better in China. If you agree, then buy the goods at the price that is considered fair. They will not give such a price, well, okay, you will find a more accommodating merchant.

Turks and Arabs have a rather vile habit of trying to shove the goods into your hands, believing that you are then obliged to buy it. Many tourists are very annoyed. Fortunately, the Chinese do not like that. You can hold the product in your hands and inspect it in the trading process, it does not affect anything.

As we already said, be prepared that you will be offered to lower the price if you take several products of the same type. The second option, popular with Chinese merchants, is an attempt to offer a similar product, but “simpler”. Such offers should immediately be refused.

And the last recommendation, but the most important. Buy something only at stationary outlets. Cheating tourists in China is common, especially surrender cheating.

Good luck with your trading, and read the pages of our site about China (links below).