Shopping in Shenzhen

Shopping in Shenzhen

You’d think that with the international vibe of Shenzhen, it would have its own monthly expat rag by now, ala That’s Beijing or That’s Shanghai. Until it does, Lonely Writers and Shenzhen Daily have it covered, with their Living in Shenzhen and Shopping in Shenzhen Guides. Shopping in Shenzhen, rather than a glorified directory, is close to 300 pages, with plenty of in-depth advice, maps, layouts, and translations for the dedicated consumer.

A flip through the pages of Shopping in Shenzhen gives the impression that there is less and less dividing Hong Kong and its kissing cousin, at least commercially. Pictures of endless gleaming aisles, international emporiums, and massive electronic displays imply that the only thing you can buy on the island that you can’t in Shenzhen is a visa renewal.

The folks behind Shopping in Shenzhen seem to think so, anyway, and have laid out the guide with a combination of military precision and old-hand street savvy. The 21st century bazaar that is Luohu Commercial City gets divvied up floor by floor and stall by stall, cross-referenced by item. That’s a feat in itself, and should do much to reduce the shell shock of first-time shoppers.

Then it’s on to Dongmen’s 1000 shopping streets, the Huaqiang Bei area, and commercial hubs along the Metro line. Those familiar with the increasingly user-friendly China city maps in expat mags will recognize the style of those given for many Shenzhen neighborhoods, and appreciate that shopping centers, not just temples and other tourist attractions, are listed in big font.

It’s hardly surprising that a guide as thorough as Shopping in Shenzhen spreads out into Shekou, Dongguan, and other Shenzhen satellites. A host of articles offer insider advice on more expensive purchases, such as antiques and home furnishings. Knowledge is buying power, and a young lady with a nifty headset named Tracy has a 16-page Chinese corner focused on terms and phrases for the shopper. Whether you want to make it tighter (nong jindian) or buy your tyke a mini-battleship (junjian), Tracy has you covered, even those of you honest saps that want to inquire after software licenses (ruanjian xuke).

Shopping and food are like sex and smoking, not advisable concurrently but highly satisfying consecutively, and in that order. So naturally Shopping in Shenzhen takes you on a romp through the city’s finest and funkiest, with plenty of short, straight-up reviews including the requisite Mandarin addresses to shove under the cab driver’s nose.

Just in case you’re sated with all your shiny new junk but still have time to spare, Shopping in Shenzhen throws down a nice thick section on the polite recreations: theme parks, nightclubs, and soaking up culture. More of the same groovy, ultra-accessible maps you get for the shopping, followed up by some page-sized pics to see where you’re going before you get there.

Cargo-pocket-sized and brimming with hip info, Shopping in Shenzhen is the best resource for a Pearl Delta shopaholic short of an old buddy who lives there. Scratch that – your buddy probably doesn’t even want to go anywhere near the Luohu center.

Shenzhen Guide: Shopping | Show | Nightlife | Entertainment | Cinemas | Galleries | Events … and more

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