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Bargaining is super important for anyone who is foreign to Chinese culture. Deciding not to bargain with the locals can really put a dent in your wallet if you’re not careful. Hopefully, by following the bargaining tips below you will be able to walk into a shop and strike an awesome deal. Just remember that bargaining in China is an art. Practice makes perfect!

Bargaining in China Tip#1:

When trying to bargain with Chinese people make sure you stay calm and not look to excited about the item that you wish to buy. Although you might be super stoked about the item your about to buy, don’t show it to the seller. By showing that you’re excited about a particular item will entice the seller not to give you any discount. By acting cool and showing that you’re not too thrilled about the item makes the seller want to lower the price. The seller will continue to lower the price until its not worth selling it anymore. Many items that I’ve purchased in China received discounts of about  50-85%.

Bargaining in China Tip#2:

When trying to strike a deal with a Chinese person always start bargaining at a super low price and then work your way up. For example, a pair of shorts may initially cost around 300 yuan. Offer the seller 30 yuan. If he doesn’t agree start working your way up, but slowly. Look at the material for a while, inspect the stitching, look for any flaws, etc. After you start investing time into an item, start offering a little bit more each time the seller & you go back in forth in terms of the price. Bargaining takes patience! If you’re not patient, learn to be.

Bargaining in China Tip#3:

When bargaining with the seller you need to justify why you won’t/can’t pay a high price for whatever you’re buying. Tell them that you’re a student and don’t have a job. Tell them that the item is cheaper at another store. Basically, tell them whatever you think is a good justification for lowering the price.

Bargaining in China Tip#4:

Don’t take things too personal. Always smile and have direct eye contact. Remember that bargaining is just a game.

Bargaining in China Tip#5:

Build relationships with particular sellers that you’ve purchased stuff from before. This will show the seller that you like him/her. By building a strong relationship with a seller, you usually receive the best prices without having to bargain too much. I usually have a particular shop that I go to buy suits, home furnishings, fruit/veggies, etc. Learning the art of Guanxi is super important if you want to save money in China.

- Christopher Cheung

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