Ahh, the fake markets in Shanghai. You can literally find anything you could possibly want or need in one of these bad boys if you have the time and patience to sift through the stalls and put up with pushy shopkeepers.
While there are fake markets all over the city, I’ve had a lot of luck at the following three spots:
Shanghai Science and Technology Metro Station (Line 2)
This market is massive. It covers an insane amount of territory below ground, just one floor above the metro line. There are hundred of shops and stalls offering clothes, designer handbags and watches, toys, and traditional Chinese souvenirs.
There is also a jewelry section that has beautiful jade and pearls. Some of these items are real, some are great quality replicas, and some are cheap knock offs.
Handbags and watches are hot ticket items, and people will try to pull you in “secret rooms” hidden away from the police. These items are usually much more expensive but are top quality. It is also possible to find decent quality bags out in the open. You can go in with any budget and dig around to find exactly what you are looking for.
Helpful hint- Shopkeepers expect you to bargain. Start with a price as low as you feel comfortable with. You can haggle for a few minutes to pay a reasonable price because, lets be honest, prices always skyrocket when they see a foreigner.
A good trick is to start walking away from the shop and say you will go somewhere else if you don’t like the price. Nine times out of ten the shopkeeper will chase you down the alleyway to make the sale.
No. 31 MinLi Rd & No 360 Mei Yuan Rd, Shanghai (Metro Line 1, Shanghai Railway Station Exit 4)
When the West Nanjing Road market that was near People’s Square closed down, many of the vendors moved to this new market to sell their wares.
The new market is very similar to the market at Science and Tech in terms of items for sale and pushy stall attendants. This is a great place for shoes, bags, and traditional Chinese-looking trinkets, though.
Helpful hint- Hit the 4th floor. It is a lot less frequented because few people have the stamina to make it all the way up there. Foreigners can typically find even better bargains because shopkeepers are excited to make a sale.
If the above market is indeed closed, head to Qipu Lu, which translates to “Cheap Street” for a wide selection of knockoff sportswear and women’s wear. Bargaining here is key — multiple vendors will have the same item, so do a lap around the vendors to take stock of what’s on offer before you pull out your wallet.
Gubei Pearl Market
This technically isn’t a Shanghai fake market, because more of the items here are real. However, pearls, jade, and silver are insanely cheap here and the quality is outstanding. They have everything from earrings to necklaces to loose pieces for you to create your own masterpiece.
The best part about the Pearl market is that the shopkeepers aren’t nearly as pushy as they are in other locations. While they definitely want to make a sale, I’ve found that they prefer to take a much more “hands off” approach and answer your questions without pulling you around the store.
Helpful hint– Only bring as much money as you dare spend. While you can still bargain here, the products are amazing and you will wind up spending way too much money if you let yourself!
Things You Should Not Buy at a Fake Market in Shanghai
While the markets are fun for picking up knockoff handbags and clothing, there are a few things you should never buy from a fake market. Be careful when buying electronics, for example. An iPhone charger that’s wired faulty could end up damaging your phone. NEVER buy medicine at a fake market as expired products are common and can lead to death.
When it comes to fake markets, the old saying applies: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”