Shopping in Beijing

Almost everything one wishes to purchase is available somewhere in Beijing for one rice or another. Much depends on what the buyer expects and what they want to spend and if they can find it.
Many five star hotels have internationally known designer boutiques with higher prices than their countries of origin. No bargains here.
With a population of over 12 million, Beijing needs and has a wide variety of shopping venues at all cost levels.
Don't miss stopping in at a neighbourhood grocery store when you see one, or strolling in a neighbourhood market where one will truly see fresh food.





This is Beijing's busiest commercial area and is normally full of shoppers. Besides many shops and restaurants there is an very large many storied mall. Prices are reasonable in this area as many stores are government owned. The street has recently been completely renovated.

This area is north of West Chang'an Avenue and has many different shopping options. Xiadan Market is the largest shop, and it has recently been modernized. wide range of merchandise is available along with a friendly and helpful staff makes shopping here extremely interesting. There is also a large Xidan Shopping Center in the immediate area.



For over five hundred years this has been a main shopping area for the city and is located south of Tian'anmen Square.

Don't miss the Dazalan area, a huotong, alley, running west from the top of Qianmen. Food sellers, silk shops, theatres, Chinese Medicine Shops and clothing shops abound in this very alive shopping area. Some shop locations date back more than 400 years



Located on Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District, near the northeast embassy area, is similar to the Silk Market, but the prices are not quite as high and it is not as crowded. Designer, or fake designer, jeans, shoes and ladies wear are in clothing stalls on one side of the street with restaurants on the other side. Big outlet for black market goods such as computer items and CD's.
China's 7,000 year ceramic history continues to the present day and is still flourishing. The Chinese invented porcelain and tightly held the secrets of its production for hundreds of years. It became a favored item of trade with the Middle East and the West. Antique and current pieces are for sale almost everywhere in Beijing Since the Yuan Dynasty, Jingdezhen, southwest of Shanghai, has been the primary production center for porcelain in China, producing most of the famous Imperial porcelain of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Museums around the world house some of these beautiful pieces.
      Export of genuine antiques is not allowed without special government permission these days. But, a special wax seal, usually red, does signify permission. Many of these items can be found at government stores. A certificate is also given to allow legal export. Buying antique porcelain without the seal or proper paperwork can be risky.
  It could be a fake, or it could have been stolen by a grave robber at some point thus not eligible for export and could be confiscated upon departure from China.

Reproductions of Ming and Qing Dynasty pieces are sold, but they are stated as such and the prices are not bad.

Many other beautiful ceramic items can be purchased such as the famous 'purple clay', or Yixing Teapots. Some of these come in sets with the tea cups. Learn the Chinese Tea Ceremony, quite different from the Japanese.
The Yixing Teapots come in many shapes and designs and quite loved by tea connoisseurs around the world.



       Because of its place in Chinese history Beijing attracts antique-seekers from all over the world. Before you think of buying, learn something about your subject. There are lots of antique shopping areas such as Liulichang Cultural Street and Beijing Curio City with more than 250 shops under one roof.


    In China anything made prior to 1949 is considered an antique. Antiques that date prior to 1795 are forbidden for sale or export. Those dated between 1796 and 1949 should bear a small red wax seal and a Certificate for Relics Export from the Beijing Cultural Relics Bureau (BCRB) to allow them to be taken out of China, and also proves the genuineness of the item. Don't loose receipts and/or certificates. Upon leaving China one could be asked if any antiques had been purchased, and luggage could be inspected at the whim of Chinese Customs
 The more independent antique shopper shops the antique markets discussed above or in the "Where to Shop" section or seeks out other sources on their own. Proper documentation and seals are not necessarily provided on items bought from these shops or market stalls. Remember, they could be fakes, reproductions, or they could be real antiques. Buyer, be aware.
Stay away from purchasing real ivory as it is not allowed to be imported into many countries, antique or not.

Furniture, porcelain, garments, calligraphy scrolls, painting scrolls, and jade are the most popular purchases.
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