It seems almost everything these days has the words ‘Made in China’ branded on it. Much to the surprise of many fresh expats in Beijing, even though many electrical goods are manufactured here, they are still retailed at a high price and some items are can be difficult to find. eChinacities brings you a list of locations for gadget shopping from the everyday to the exotic, and a little advice on where to buy what, and the kind of service which can be expected from the stores and markets. Buying electronics in Beijing can be a bit stressful, read on to arm yourself with all the knowledge you need for a successful shopping experience.
Famous throughout Beijing, Landao is situated not far from Guomao and is one of the top spots for buying computers. A multi-storey beast featuring scores of individual stores, it is a great place to find the latest in computer-related goods. It is worth bearing in mind that unlike other electronics markets such as Dazhong, the sellers in Landao expect buyers to bargain and can offer starting prices which may seem ridiculously over the odds. The market offers a broad selection of computer goods and gives buyers chance to flex their bargaining muscles
Zhongguancun E-Plaza is another behemoth of an electronics market. Located at the heart of China’s very own ‘Silicon Valley’ it is the electronics buff’s electronics market and the place to go if you know exactly what you want (or are up for a hectic but potentially fruitful gadget shopping excursion). On the ground floor there are slick looking show spaces for big name computer manufacturers. The second floor houses more brand exclusive shops and larger stores, and the third floor and upwards are home to smaller businesses more oriented towards computer components and accessories. As with Landao, shopping at Zhongguancun requires a certain amount of bargaining, although generally vendors offer more realistic prices at the outset, leaving less room for knocking down prices. The upper floors of E-plaza are the most suitable for finding obscure items or getting a device fixed. If you can’t find what you are looking for it is likely that it is to be found or that someone within earshot can find it for. If you’re looking for software that might not come in the official box, this is the place.
The flagship Apple store in Sanlitun Village offers a more genteel and hi-tech shopping experience and all of the products that Apple Mac fans across the world adore. Unfortunately, their iPhones come without Wi-Fi and prices are higher here than they are in the States.
Landao Plaza 蓝岛大厦 View In Map
Add: 8 Chaoyangmen Wai Dajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8561 7838
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
Zhongguancun E-Plaza 中关村E世界View In Map
Add: 11 Zhongguancun Dajie, 50meters south of Hailong Buliding, Haidian District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6268 1858
Opening hours: 9:00 – 18:30
Apple Store 苹果直营店 View In Map
Add: Building 6, Sanlitun Village, No. 19 Sanlitun Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing
地址: 北京三里屯路19号院, 三里屯 Village 6 号楼
Tel: 010 6419 8900
Photography Equipment City in Wukesong is undoubtedly the first stop in Beijing for those seeking photographic equipment. From archaic analogue technology through to top of the range digital photography equipment: it can all be found at the market. The ground floor of the large building is made up of great many stalls selling all manner of cameras and photography paraphernalia and is a source of joy for both photography professionals and enthusiasts alike. As in many markets there is a certain amount of leeway allowed in bargaining. The general consensus amongst Beijing photographers is that brand new equipment is moderately priced; second hand items can be costly and that it is worth doing online research before parting with cash.
For those that prefer their photos to have that vintage feel, The Lomography Shop with Houhai and Sanlitun branches is popular with those who have the patience to wait a while before they see their photo. The Lomography shop’s wares are somewhat expensive, however it is still likely to appeal to die hard fans of the field of photography which has gained an almost cultish following in recent years.
Beijing Photography Equipment City 北京摄影器材城View In Map
Add: 40 Wukesong Lu, Haidian District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8811 9723
Getting there: Bus No. 121 and Yutong 106
The Lomography ShopView In Map
Add: 9 Longtoujing Jie, Xicheng District, Beijing (west of the Gongwangfu parking lot)
地址: 北京市西城区龙头井街9号 (恭王府停车场西侧)
Tel: 010 6657 2769, 133 6602 9152
With a population that is seemingly permanently on the move, mobile phones and MP3 players are ubiquitous in Beijing. They can also be purchased in a great number of places. Local markets provide home grown imitative brands that you are unlikely to have heard of; for example, a “Blackberry” with an unheard of model number, a “gold’” plated, diamante fascia, looking akin to an item that may have been found in the possession of the late, great Liberace, is not something you are likely to stumble across in a Western cell phone store.
For those on a quest for authenticity, there are a number of stores across the city that offer the real deal, including the previously mentioned Landao and Zhongguancun markets, which stock all of the latest in mobile communications technology. The mobile phone store which is well recognised and perhaps most trusted by Chinese residents is Dixintong which has stores in every district. Goods are at a reasonable price, post-sale service is available and all goods are legitimate.
MP3 players are extremely common in China although most cheap players are made from generic parts, having the same user interface and, sadly, share a common lack of quality control in manufacture. It is probably best to buy a more expensive player of a better known brand – these can be found in the majority of computer markets and electrical chain markets mentioned elsewhere in the article.
With well over 80 stores in Beijing, your best bet for finding a nearby location is to check their website (www.dixintong.com, Chinese) or do a Google map search.
Musical and studio equipment
The main two areas to find any kind of musical electronics are Jishuitan and Gulou Dajie. Both streets are dotted with shops offering all manner of electronic equipment from keyboards and digital tuners through to mixing desks and DJ equipment at JTD Audio in Jishuitan. Prices vary and can be considerably higher than those found online. It is worth mentioning however, that the staff in most of the shops are musicians themselves and have experience using equipment, they are able to advise those in doubt on what purchase to make and give post-sale service – something often difficult to ensure when shopping online.
Tom Lee Music Emporium is a large musical instrument store which has two sister stores in Hong Kong. The store will be familiar to those used to buying musical instruments and studio equipment from music mega stores in their home country. Tommy Lee offers all of the kinds of services, including delivery, and has a solid reputation in Beijing.
JTD Audio 金通道音响 View In Map
Add: 70 Xinjiekou Beidajie, Xicheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8322 8431
Opening hours: 09:00-19:00
Tom Lee Music Emporium 通利琴行 View In Map
Add: 57 Tiantan Lu, Chongwen District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6702 0099
Opening hours: 09:00-21:00
Home entertainment and stereo equipment
By far the most popular place to purchase videogames and videogames consoles is Nanluoguxiang, home to a large number of boutique stores catering to that special breed of person: the video games fanatic. Stores including the Zhile Chengbao Game Player Store offer special services such as modification of machines to play the ubiquitous dao ban pirated games. Bargains can easily be found. Prices at these stores are moderate and bargains are there to be had, cheap video games are boon for many gamers in Beijing in a similar way to cheap DVDs are to movie lovers.
With the advent of the MP3 age audiophiles are a dying breed anywhere in the world, this can be no truer than in Beijing, where hi-fi equipment stores are few and far between. Beijing is home to both a Bose and a Bang & Olufsen store offering hi-fi equipment for those that appreciate clarity in their music and have a passion for sonic fidelity.
Zhile Chengbao Game Player Store 智乐城堡 View In Map
Add: 36 Di’anmen Wai Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8401 2235
Bang & OlufsenView In Map
Add: 215-216 China World Shopping Mall, 1 Jianguomen Wai Dajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6505 0330
Bose View In Map
Add: AA52A, Oriental Plaza, 1 Dongchang'an Jie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8518 6885
White goods – home appliances
The most popular places to buy white goods are chain stores including Gome and Dazhong. Refrigerators, air-conditioning and TVs can all be found at these stores in abundance. There is little room for bargaining but hardened shoppers may find that they can knock the price down a bit if they have the gift of bargaining. Both stores have outlets across the city. Below are addresses for just two of their many locations.
GOME 国美电器 View In Map
Add: 40 Beisanhuan Zhonglu, Haidian District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6207 1730
Dazhong Electronics 大中电器 View In Map
100 Yuanda Lu Xikou, Haidian District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8884 9777, 9510 5707
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