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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.