Bargaining in China

Bargaining is acceptable in most Chinese stores, except in the supermarket or some shopping malls in which the goods have clear fixed prices and the staff is not allowed to grant discretionary markdowns. Try bargaining every time you shop; you may get a great price reduction and enjoy the fun and pleasure of shopping.


 Shopping in a Jade Shop
Shopping in a jade shop
Bargaining is a little time-consuming and sometimes troublesome, so be fully prepared is very necessary - however, there is no need to be nervous. First, you should visit many different shops and markets to get a general idea about the reasonable average price of the things you want to buy.


In bargaing with the seller, stay relaxed but always polite. Be patient and unflappable to facilitate the bargaining process. There are some skills that can be used in the course of bargaining:

1. Cut down considerably from the asking price. The shopkeeper often charges higher prices than the actual value of the goods. Try to reduce the price to half of the asking price, and then spend some time on further negotiation.Generally, the basic rules and conditions of bargaining in different shopping areas are different, so you should know them first in order to make comparisons. Then you can bargain and arrive at a good price that will enhance your shopping experience.

Bargaining when shopping
Bargaining when shopping
2. Never express how much you like the things you want to buy, as the seller may use this information to jack up the price. Pretend to be casual and indifferent while strolling around in the shops.

3. Try to find and point out as many flaws as possible in the product. The seller will always describe its excellence and will avoid talking about blemishes; but no product is completely perfect, and you should learn to identify all the flaws in order to gain bargaining leverage. In response, the seller may reduce his asking price.

4. Take some time when choosing and comparing the goods before you propose the price you wish. In this situation, the seller may compromise with you.

5. Pretend to walk away. Generally, this skill works quite well in most shopping places. If the price proposed by the seller is still unacceptable and outside your budget, you can use the walk away technique. Usually, you will be called back again, and the price you offer may be accepted by the shopkeeper.

Xiushui Market, Beijing
Xiushui Market, Beijing
6. Paying with small change is preferred. Do not show money of large denominations, and keep your small change separately in your pockets. Otherwise, the seller may hike the price when he discovers that you can afford the price he asks.

7. Try to wear plain clothes without jewelry. If your clothes and ornaments make you appear to be rich, the price proposed by the seller will accordingly be a little higher. But this is not a must and should not prevent you from being be yourself.

8. Speaking a little Chinese may be very helpful. To overcome the language obstacles when communicating with the Chinese shopkeeper, you will benefit from learning some everyday Chinese phrases about shopping like 'Ni Hao' (Hello!), 'Duo Shao Qian?' (How much?) as well as 'Pian Yi Dian?' (Can you give me this for cheaper?). Do not worry about speaking Chinese fluently. A calculator or a paper and pen held in the seller's hand may ease the communication of prices between you.


Make sure that you get the things you buy at prices you are satisfied with, and that the products are flawless and the ones you prefer. It is possible that you will take pleasure in practicing the exciting art of bargaining.

- Last updated on Apr. 14, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Bargaining in China
Asked by Jin from NETHERLANDS | Mar. 31, 2015 04:01Reply
Bargaining at food stands
Is it okay to bargain at a food stand if the prices are Western, like 2.50 dollar for one skewer of meat?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lee from MALAYSIA | Apr. 02, 2015 02:17

Jin, it depends on the size. If you eat roast meat at the stand, a skewer of meat is tinny. It costs CNY1 to 2. However, there are some huge ones. The vendor usually sell it per skewer. It costs from CNY 10 to 20. You should know that the prices vary from place to place. Usually, you needn't bargain.
Asked by D.L.Ajitha from SRI LANKAADLI | Feb. 16, 2014 12:35Reply
Where Can I buy high quality 3D Smart TV in cheapest Price
Answers (1)
Answered by Bruce from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 16, 2014 21:12

If you just buy one for your own, I think you can buy it from any Suning or Gome shopping centers. If you buy many TVs, I think you should find the top dealers or the TV makers and buy from them.
Asked by Mr.wole solanke from NIGERIA | Mar. 03, 2011 07:23Reply
i like to know the price of digital cameras/ speakers and blackberry phones in guanzhou
Answers (2)
Answered by Mr.Carl | Mar. 03, 2011 22:03

I think you may go to Gangding of Tianhe area for a look, where there are Taipingyang Computer City, Nanfang Computer City adn Guangzhou Computer City. There are aome other digital markets on Zhongshan 5th and 6th Road as well as people's square.
Answered by Mr.Simon | Apr. 14, 2011 15:11

If you need any help.. I could take you up there, I went for digital products and laptops a lot..
Asked by Mr.ullah from SOUTH AFRICA | Apr. 26, 2009 11:46Reply
ke chi na? also means "how much " in chineses
Answers (1)
Answered by Mr.Yang | Apr. 26, 2009 20:57

No, it's not 'ke chi na'. 'How much' means 'duo shao qian' in Chinese.
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