Bargaining in China 1

China Travel Blog

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Negotiation and bargaining in any situation is a challenge and frustrating but non more so than when the other party has all the information. This is the case for most people coming to China and bargaining. The vendor knows their cost and the lowest point they can go without loosing money. In most cases as a shopper you left guessing, and most times it’s higher than you’d expect. That is the purpose of this section, to even out the information and bargaining playing field. In addition to the price guide we’ve also listed out some solid strategies for bargaining in the Chinese markets.

***The price guide is in the list below***

Each strategy has different affects on the vendors and works different with each buyer also remember the price you get will be dependent on the time you want to put into it and how many tourist are in the area (the more tourists there are the more the get from them). If you just want to be in and out maybe pick a finish price higher in the range that will suit you. For example sunglasses can go for 15 but if you don’t really want to bargain much you can easily get it for 25 , which a lot of tourist pay 100 for. With this type of information you can bargain with confidence, but don’t forget to have fun. In Chinese society a clever bargainer is respected so use that humor and charm whenever you can.

Before you start:

Learn at least a little Chinese and hand gestures for numbers and money denominations. A little goes a long way here and you might be able to fool them into thinking you live in China.


Method 1: Sticking to Your Guns

This strategy is call sticking to your guns because you do exactly that, stick to your starting price. With the price guide in hand pick a price in the range you’d be happy to spend. Then before even asking them how much ask them if they can go to you price. For example; “wushi quai keyi ma?” (50quai can you?). No matter how reasonable the price is they will laugh at the question and then ask you to give a serious price. Although they are degrading your offer there is a good clue here. The fact that they are still whiling to bargain usually means your number is in their selling range. If you are out of that selling range they will just say no and turn around or simply be indifferent to your actions.

You can now ask them how much if they haven’t already given you a price. This next part you can play however you want. You can be tough and broody, witty and funny or coy and shy. I tend to try and be funny, coy and polite. It might seem it’s all about the money but nice, at times, goes a long way in China. Most often the conversation sounds like this (from the beginning):

Buyer: Can you take 50 for this?

Seller: Are you crazy, I need a serious price.

Buyer: Okay how much do you think?

Seller: I have to sell for at least 150.

Buyer: I’m sorry to bother you then.

Seller: Okay, okay give me your best price.

Buyer: I’m sorry the most I can go is 50, sorry to waist you time. Bye.

Seller: Okay, how about 75.

Buyer: No, I’m really sorry I can’t go that high.

Seller: How much then.

Buyer: I’m sorry I’m just going to have find another place.

Seller: How much, How much.

Buyer: Sorry that’s the best I can do. Bye (walking away)

Seller: Okay, okay 60!

Buyer: Sorry (still walking)

Seller: Okay, okay, your price…


Method 2: Testing the waters

If you are unsure of a price of an item, there are a few techniques that may help you achieve a fair and reasonable price. Often times you will find an item that is more unique then normal. In these cases you may want to start off a little stiff to give yourself ample bargaining room. By starting off very low you may come across abrasive but with serious intent to buy the item that will quickly be overlooked. Now with your feet wet you should be patient while they will begin testing you. As the vendors offers become more reasonable you can follow suit. Be weary because the middle ground can be the most difficult area to bargain in. At this point you should have a good idea of what a fair price is and follow the basic rules from this point on.

I don’t know why the photo of the spread sheet is not showing so here is a list:


Boxers/Briefs (Brand Name) ¥6.00 to ¥12.00
Chinese Robe (Silk) ¥50.00 to ¥70.00
Dress, Chinese Style (Silk) ¥90.00 to ¥120.00
Jacket, Down (Brand Name) ¥200.00 to ¥220.00
Jacket, Ski (Brand Name) ¥100.00 to ¥180.00
Jeans (Brand Name, not Levis)  ¥80.00 to ¥120.00
Jeans (Levis) ¥160.00 to ¥200.00
Jersey & Shorts Football/Soccer ¥50.00 to ¥80.00
Jersey, American Football/Hockey ¥70.00 to ¥120.00
Pants, Jogging (Brand Name) ¥45.00 to ¥65.00
Pants, Slack (Brand Name) ¥70.00 to ¥100.00
Shirt, Long Sleeve Button-up (Men's) ¥35.00 to ¥60.00
Shirt, Polo (Abercrombie & Fitch) ¥60.00 to ¥70.00
Shirt, Polo (Brand Name, not A&F) ¥30.00 to ¥50.00
Shirt, Mock Turtleneck (Brand Name) ¥50.00 to ¥60.00
Shoes, Casual (Brand Name) ¥50.00 to ¥110.00
Shoes, Casual Leather (Brand Name) ¥90.00 to ¥130.00
Shoes, Leather (Designer) ¥150.00 to ¥200.00
Socks (Brand Name, 1 Pair) ¥4.00 to ¥6.00
Socks (Brand Name, 10 Pairs) ¥30.00 to ¥40.00
Sweater (Brand Name) ¥45.00 to ¥60.00
Sweater (Cashmere) ¥60.00 to ¥120.00
T-Shirts ¥20.00 to ¥25.00
Warm-Ups, Set (Brand Name) ¥90.00 to ¥110.00
Windbreaker (Brand Name) ¥60.00 to ¥70.00
Windbreaker, Fleece (Brand Name) ¥90.00 to ¥120.00
Souvenirs LOW TO HIGH
Chop Sticks and Table Cloth Set ¥20.00 to ¥30.00
Chop Sticks Set (4 with rest)   to  
Fans ¥10.00 to ¥50.00
Large Rolled Paintings 72" x 16" ¥65.00 to ¥85.00
Tea Set 50? to ¥150.00
Electronic LOW TO HIGH
CD ¥3.00 to ¥10.00
DVD ¥5.00 to ¥8.00
DVD9 (HD) ¥8.00 to ¥10.00
Games, Game Boy Advanced ¥10.00 to ¥25.00
Games, Playstation ¥5.00 to ¥15.00
Software (Per Disk) ¥5.00 to ¥10.00

Tailored LOW TO HIGH
Suits, Tailored ¥500.00 to ¥650.00
Pants, Slacks ¥80.00 to  ¥150.00
Shirts, Long Sleeve ¥80.00 to ¥130.00
Leather Jacket ¥650.00 to ¥750.00
Dress   to  
Accessories LOW TO HIGH
Belt (Brand Name) ¥20.00 to ¥40.00
Cufflinks (Brand Name) ¥10.00 to ¥20.00
Gloves ¥20.00 to ¥40.00
Hat, Baseball ¥20.00 to ¥35.00
Hat, Stocking ¥15.00 to ¥25.00
Scarf (Basic) ¥10.00 to ¥15.00
Scarf (Smaller, Cashmere) ¥15.00 to ¥25.00
Scarf (Smaller, Pashmina) ¥10.00 to ¥20.00
Sunglasses, with case (Brand Name) ¥15.00 to ¥35.00
Ties (Brand Name) ¥10.00 to ¥15.00
Wallet (Brand Name) ¥20.00 to ¥30.00
Watch (Brand Name) ¥50.00 to ¥190.00
Bag / Purses LOW TO HIGH
Backpack Large 65L (Brand Name) ¥90.00 to ¥120.00
Backpack Small (Brand Name) ¥40.00 to ¥60.00
Bag, Side (Laptop Size, Brand Name) ¥35.00 to ¥45.00
Bag, Side (Plastic, Brand Name) ¥25.00 to ¥35.00
Purse Larger, Leather (Brand Name) ¥75.00 to ¥180.00
Purse Smaller, Fabric (Brand Name) ¥20.00 to ¥75.00
Binoculars ¥15.00 to ¥30.00
Books ¥10.00 to ¥20.00
Key Rings (Brand Name) ¥5.00 to ¥15.00
Laptop Briefcase (Brand Name) ¥80.00 to ¥100.00
Pens (Brand Name) ¥10.00 to ¥35.00
Suit Case, Large (Brand Name) ¥150.00 to ¥200.00
Suit Case Small Carry-on (Brand...) ¥120.00 to ¥180.00
Table Runners ¥10.00 to ¥65.00
Wine Bottle Dress ¥5.00 to ¥10.00
Zippo ¥20.00 to ¥30.00
Golf Clubs Set with Bag (Calloway) ###### to
Golf Clubs Set with Bag (Brand Name) ¥300.00 to ¥400.00
Golf Club, Driver (Brand Name) ¥100.00 to ¥250.00
Tennis Racket (Brand Name) ¥150.00 to ¥180.00

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