Where to Buy in Shanghai
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Shop until you drop on China's premier shopping street Nanjing Road, or head for the Yuyuan Bazaar for Chinese crafts and jewelry not far from the Bund. Nanjing Road is a long street. The more famous part lies in the east near the Bund (Nanjing Road East), with a 1-km long pedestrian boulevard (Metro line 2 at Nanjing Road East station, formerly called Henan Road station) lined with busy shops.
The wide boulevard is often packed with people on weekends and holidays. The shops are often targeted to domestic tourists, so the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Local people often look down on Nanjing Road and shop at Huaihai Road (another busy shopping boulevard with more upscale stores) instead. For the high end boutiques, go to the west end of Nanjing Road West near Jing'an Temple. Several large shopping malls (Plaza 66 aka Henglong Plaza, Citic Plaza, Meilongzhen Plaza, and others being built) house boutiques bearing the most famous names in fashion. No. 3 on the Bund is another high-end shopping center featuring Giorgio Armani's flagship store in China.
For those interested in boutique shopping, head to the French Concession Streets Xin Le Road, Chang Le Lu and An Fu Lu starting from east of Shan Xi Road (nearest metro station is South Shan Xi Road on line 1). This section of low rise building and tree-lined streets bustles with small boutiques of clothing and accessories, where young Shanghainese looking for the latest fashions shop.
The infamous Xiangyang Market was finally shut down for good in June 2006. The biggest "replacement" market is in the metro station (Line 2) at the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum. The most common name for the market is "A.P. New XinYang Fashion Market." There are a number of variations, and the name really doesn't even matter. The easiest way to get there is by metro and there you can purchase all your knock-off products. The place is much more overrun by foreigners than Qipu Lu (below), and as such the prices are much higher.
The horrendously crowded Qipu Lu clothing market is a mass of stalls jammed into a warehouse sized building which would take the casual stroller most of a day to look through. You'll find the cheapest clothes in the city here, but even the trendiest styles are clearly Chinese. Bargain hard, in Chinese if you can and make friends with the shop owners. Many of them have secret stashes of knock-offs in hidden rooms behind the stall "walls." Avoid this place on weekends at all costs.
Another option is the Pearl Plaza located on Yan'an Xi Lu and Hongmei Lu as well as the unassuming shopping center located on the corner of Nanjing Xi Lu and Chongqing Lu. Haggling can be fun for those who are accustomed to it, but those sensitive to the pressure might want to steer clear. Not only can it be stressful to haggle, but just walking in to the buildings can bring a horde of people upon you trying to sell you bags, watches, DVDs and all assortment of goods.
But rather than pursuing knock-offs of Western brands, one of the more interesting things to do in Shanghai is to check out the small boutiques in the French Concession area. Some of these are run by individual designers of clothing, jewelry etc and so the items on sale can truly be said to be unique. Visitors from overseas should expect the usual problem of finding larger sizes.
Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore (Shanghai Book Traders) at 390 Fuzhou Road (near People's Square) offers a lot of books in English and other major languages, especially for learning Chinese. Just around the corner at 36 South Shanxi Road you will also find a small but well-stocked second-hand foreign-language bookshop. Fuzhou Road is also a good street to wander around and find Chinese calligraphy related shops.
Those interested in DVDs of movies and television shows have a wide variety of options. Aside from the people selling DVDs out of boxes on street corners you can also find a good selection of movies at many local DVD shops in most neighborhoods. Perhaps the best way to score a deal with a shop is to be a regular. If you provide them repeat business they are usually quite happy to give you discounts for your loyal patronage. Typically DVDs can cost anywhere from ￥5 for standard disks to ￥10-12 for DVD-9 format disks.
However, if you are short on time in Shanghai and don't have the means to form a relationship with a shop, many people recommend the Ka De Club. An expat favorite for years, they have two shops: one in 483, Zhenning Road and the other one in 505, Da Gu Road (a small street between Weihai Road and Yan'an Road). While the selection at the Ka De Club isn't bad the downside of this store's popularity is that with so many foreigners giving them business, you tend to get somewhat higher prices than at local shops and haggling and repeat customer bargains are pretty much non-existent.
Antiques, jade and communist China memorabilia can be found in Dongtai Road Antiques Market, where you must bargain if you want to get a fair deal. Yuyuan Gardens is another good option for antiques as well as all manner of cheaply made and priced souvenirs (teapots, paintings, "silk" bags, etc.). There are two basement markets. You will have to hunt for them, but they are worth the effort. As with any market in China, don't be afraid to bargain to get a fair price.
Xujiahui metro station is the place to go if you're after game consoles (the Wii is available here in relative abundance), computers, computer accessories, or the like. You'll find pretty much everything electronic there, but the cellphone selection is a bit lacking.
If you're after a new cellphone, go to the Shanghai Railway Station. You can find good deals on secondhand phones as well as new phones (the selection is a mixed bag; you'll find Chinese off-brands mixed with reliable big-name brands like Samsung and Nokia as well as cutting-edge Japanese phones; if you live in North or South America be careful about buying the off-brand phones as most do not support the necessary frequencies for use there. Also, in the secondhand section of the market some of the phones are of dubious origin; CDMA phones may have their ESNs blacklisted in their home countries, but for GSM/3G phones the only issue is an ethical one. Be careful about prices that are too good to be true.
Bu Ye Cheng Communications Market, (Shanghai Railway Station, exit 4 from line 1 side, turn left and it's the large gold building). 10am-6pm. This is the one of the best-known open-style market for cellphones in Shanghai. 1F/2F for new phones (two-way radios too), 3F for various collectibles. They have pretty much everything under the sun from new Japanese phones to Chinese no-names or knockoffs. Any reputable vendor that sets up shop here will allow you to try before you buy- if they don't, leave. Best way to get a good (or uncommon) phone for cheap.