China Travel blog > Shanghai's Fake Markets, Fabric Markets, Antique Markets

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Looking this good in Shanghai takes commitment and dedication! (Photo: www.chicagomag.com)

UPDATE: Check out our guide to Shanghai's 10 Best Markets and find them on the Shanghai Markets Map, plus how to get the best prices with top 10 tips for bargaining in China

If you visit Shanghai, no doubt you're going to want to check out some of Shanghai's markets—if you've got the time and patience. Yup, it all comes down to patience. Though the days of old Xiangyang market's crowded stalls and grasping hands are long gone and a megalithic glass and concrete tower now rises up from the ashes of thousand upon thousands of watch-bag-DVD-stalls, if you are tired and intolerant of crowds, haggling and harassment, you may not enjoy any of the following. Stick to the air-conditioned malls of Xujiahui and Jing'an Temple area instead. However, with a little preparation and nerves of steel, there are deals to be had that'll have your pals back home swooning over the results of your beady bargain hunter's eye!

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Designer wallets for un-designer prices

Fake markets

China is notorious for its designer fakes. Even if you're not into buying them, seeing them can be an interesting experience. Counterfeit products in China come in varying degrees of quality and authenticity. Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Chloe, Dior, Chanel—some are direct copies of the originals and others are just cheap knock-offs that will fall apart in a couple of months, weeks or even days. You might be able to determine while haggling just what level of fakes you're dealing, and of course, sometimes you'll pay more than you should. It's all part of the game. Be sure to read our top 10 China bargaining tips to ensure you are well prepared and then get out there and bag yourself some faux-designer style!

Check out the fake market on Nanjing Lu where the stall-holders are pushy, the turnover high and the crowds are, well, crowded. For a slightly more relaxed experience, try the Yatai fake market in Pudong located under the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum or the fake market near Hongmei Lu (in the same building as the Hongqiao Pearl Market), both of which are marginally less busy.

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Release your inner designer on all the colors of the rainbow!

Fabric markets

Shanghai's fabric markets are great for picking up a bargain, but they too require time and the patience of a saint. Pick out your fabric from the massive, multistall selection spread over several floors, where everyone wants to give you a special "friend price." Don't believe them. Bargain hard. As with many markets and shops in China, go early—the first customer of the day gets the best prices. It's wise to have your own clothes copied but you can bring in a photo or design for an outfit you want to make (expect to go a couple of rounds of fittings and alterations with this options according to the complexity of the design). With more and more stallholders speaking at least a few words of English, getting stuff made at the fabric market is easy even for a newcomer, and can be a fun and inexpensive way to have tailored clothes of your own design.

You'll want to head to the South Bund to get your fabric market fix. Here you'll find two spots in fairly close proximity: the South Bund Fabric Market and Shiliupu Fabric Market, with the former just a little more foreigner friendly. Once a far-flung corner of Shanghai, these days there's more to this area than just tailor made couture with massive regeneration going on along the riverfront. Hop in a cab and you'll be at the Cool Docks in minutes, an F&B zone of old Shikumen architecture shoulder to shoulder with warehouse chic that even features its very own fake beach!

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There's Communist kitsch galore at Dongtai Lu Antiques Market

Antique markets

If you are into Communist kitsch or antique Chinese furniture, jewelry, posters and so on, then the antique market on Dongtai Lu near Xintiandi is a good place to buy presents for yourself, friends and family. With two intersecting streets filled with knick-knacks and souvenirs of the old and not-so-old variety, a wander through is well worth it, even if you don't intend to buy.

From disintegrating qipao and vintage specs to modern-day Mao memorabilia, cigarette poster reprints and Art Deco-style jewelry boxes, it is full of curios and conversation pieces aplenty and you'll doubtless find a trinket or two to liven up your mantelpiece.  Many stands have similar items so when you spot something you like, don't dive in straightaway, browse around and see what price range you are offered before going in for negotiations that start low, low, low. Final prices should be quite inexpensive and don't believe the dubious claims of authenticity for a second!

Want to know where to head for the best bargains on kids clothes, eye-glasses, electronics, fast fashion, pearls, tea and more? Check out our guide to Shanghai's best markets and find them on our map of Shanghai markets.

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  1. If you're going to shop in China, and don't want to be ripped off, I recommend checking out http://www.shanghaifakemarket.com. There is also an app for Android which is free to download.

    By SHFM September 16,2012 01:42 PM

  2. Thanks for the information about china market.!

    By DRG September 20,2012 02:07 PM

  3. I travel to Shanghai June this year, it is hot and humid. I like the shop of chinese antique furniture (sorry I don't know the name but i know the owner's cell phone 13621990301 or 13901685220 email:shanghaifurniture@hotmail.com) located in surburb of shanghai city named as qingpu district. (on the western direction of hongqiao airport) so not too far from American School Puxi Section.

    And they have full range of chinese antique furniture in their warehouse display, and ready for sell. you could point out which one you like to buy, and negotiate with the owner about prices you can accept.

    They use Elm wood and they have several wood finishes/ colors to choose from (all nice looking, not the cheap sh1t). The style is more traditional than other shops we have been to, but the quality is WAAAY better.

    They have their own factory ( not so far away) and they have a catalog of stuff they can do for you. they do speak english BUT I think you will be please with the quality of their stuff. Prices are reasonable (not cheap) but not crazy either.

    By bottilagineise October 19,2012 11:41 AM

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