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Beijing Shopping

The opening up of Beijing to the west has had a profound impact on shopping. A wide range of consumer goods – both local and imported – are now available and there are many bargains to be found throughout the city. The main shopping area is around Wangfujing Dajie, where there are a number of department stores, including the Beijing Department Store, which primarily caters for the Chinese market.

A number of shopping malls have upmarket and international shops. The best clothes shops are on Dong Dan Bei Dajie, as well as Silk Alley, Xiushui Dong Jie off Jianguomenwai Dajie, which also has silk stalls. Here, prices are displayed but it is worth bargaining. Just along the road is the famous Friendship Store, which has several floors of tourist souvenirs, laquerware, jewellery, carpets, clothes and Chinese tea.

The long-established markets throughout the city now compete with a number of modern shopping malls, the most glamorous of which is the Lufthansa Centre, Liangma Qiao Lu, with its many international shops and snack bars. Another major shopping mall is the Xidan Shopping Centre, Xidan Bei Dajie, with shops selling a range of food, jewellery, electronic goods and clothes. Collectors of antiques should make for Liulichang, a few minutes’ walk south of Heping Men subway station.

This market is crammed with ancient-style shops, reconstructed in a traditional way and stocking a bewildering array of antiques and curios. Note that antiques over 100 years old are marked with a red wax seal and an export licence must be issued in order to take them out of the country. The weekend market at Panjiayuan Jiuhuo Shichang is an enormous, open-air place with great bargains on items such as jade, wood panelling, pottery and bric-a-brac.

Most shops are open daily 0900-2000. There is no sales tax in China.