Photo Tour: Shanghai Fake Market

Near the end of my time in China last December I decided to head to one of Shanghai’s "fake markets" for some last minute Christmas gifts. While I had been to the various markets around the city before, this time I brought my camera.

Shanghai Fake Market
Watch! Bag! DVD?!

Whenever approached by street hawkers, I started taking photos of them.
They stopped trying to sell me things pretty quickly.

This photo tour can be viewed as a slideshow. Simply click on an image to begin play.

Fenshine Fashion and Accessories Plaza

This particular market on Nanjing Lu was conveniently located within walking distance from my apartment. Though not as expansive as the one underneath the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, it saved a subway ride across the city and has pretty much the same items.

Counterfeit Goods Notice

This is how you know you’re in the right place.

This poster was up in various areas, but is mostly just for show. The markets do get shut down or relocated from time to time, but they usually not very secretive about what products they offer.

The Products

Dolce and Gabbana Handbag

Handbags are often the most counterfeit goods.
While it’s easy to spot the fakes if your an expert, the effort that goes into faking these is quite impressive.

Eye wear Frames

Looks like the counterfeit goods notice is doing a lot of good…

The watches always appear to be of very good quality. One trick vendors love to show is how their watch crystals don’t scratch when struck with a sharp object. While the front surface may not scratch, the internals are another matter entirely as I have heard reports that they often fail after a few weeks. One interesting thing about the watches more so than other products is that there seems to be an endless variety of them. If the vendor does not have anything you like out, they will often produce more cases full of them to show you, sometimes hidden in some very strange places. In one market, a vendor insisted in showing me his superior collection and moved a display revealing the hole in the wall where it was stashed.

Fake Sunglasses
Fake iPods
Fake iPhone

Fake iPhone

Fake iPod

Fake iPods usually have more features than the real versions.

Fake Dockers

The Stores

Handbag Store
Waiting For You, Only You

Waiting for you, only you, rich foreign tourist…

Clothing Store
Tie Store

An impressive collection of ties, each goes for little more than one US Dollar.

Paul Smith Shirts

The People

Disapproving Salesperson

At first some didn’t like getting their picture taken, they mostly didn’t want to get in trouble

For me the best part about going to one of these markets was practicing my Chinese with the salespeople. There are no set prices and everything must be haggled for. If they see that you’re foreign the prices will start out astronomically high. If you have a good idea of what the selling price for a particular item is it’s easy to get them to come down to a reasonable level. If not, simply move on to the next store with the same item and try again.

Disapproving Salesperson
Opening Up

Once I started talking to them they quickly opened up,
some wanting me to take a photo of them with their stores.


I am not condoning the sale or purchase of counterfeit goods; it’s just what I choose to document. These markets located around Shanghai are great places to pick up some souvenirs at cheap prices, and some shops do not sell any "fake" goods at all. I picked up a 6 foot shark kite and some fans on this visit, as well as some small Chinese looking items to hand out. If anyone else has stories about their experiences shopping at markets like this please start up a discussion below.

9 responses to “Photo Tour: Shanghai Fake Market”

  1. Hi Great photo’s, sorry if I missed it, but could not see, any chance of emailing me the address of these markets?

    • @Jason: I’m not sure if the place is still open but here is the address: Fenshine Fashion & Accessories 580 Nanjing Xi Lu. Another is located in the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum metro stop (Line 2). If you exit the metro station you pretty much run into the market, so it is pretty easy to find.

  2. I spent several fun filled days shopping similar places in Beijing. Half the fun is the haggle and the other half is looking for the spelling mistakes in the knock off products. Some, as you say, were so good you almost believe they are indeed genuine.

  3. Reminds me of my short stay in New York City during 1970 when I shopped along 42nd Street and up Brodway.

    Good shots

  4. Hey, I just came across this this little gallery while researching other things.
    I lived in China for two years before moving to Taiwan, where I am now, to complete my Junior and Senior year in high school.
    I lived in Hangzhou for a spell. There were places called Bai Nao Huis. Large Chinese electronics black market for pirated everythings. I’d more than once had an urge to take pictures, but the people there were terribly hostile (paranoid?) towards the camera.
    Well, I sometimes miss living in a culture where pirated things are the norm. Glad to know you had some fun in Shanghai. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Very interesting article…I had no idea that it was so open and prevalent. I find it interesting that you found iphones with more features than the real ones—too funny! Many years ago, in East Berlin, we could get things much cheaper but not so true to the original item. They didn’t put a conterfeit label on that I remember, so everything was sold in regular stores.
    Very nice photos too…what kind of camera were you using?

  6. I’ve just been there and I loved it! the atmosphere of everyone yelling at you, the smell of plastics, the chance to buy goods so much cheeper haha. However, for those who don’t like bargain, it’s the worst place you can go to.

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