Foreigners share their favorite must-buy Chinese-made products
Over 28 million foreign tourists visited China in 2016, according to statistics. While Chinese tourists are known to be avid consumers of luxury brands, imported wines and foreign milk powder when traveling overseas, what do foreigners shop for when in China? The Global Times recently interviewed some foreigners in Shanghai about their preference for shopping for Chinese-made goods.
Foreigners go shopping in Shanghai. Photos: CFP
As a country with a long history of cuisine and a wide variety of regional dishes, food is perhaps the first local product that foreigners in China go for. Hiroshi (pictured below) from Italy said he actually brings back home Chinese-made snacks for his personal consumption.
"Instant noodles in Italy are horrible. They are really bland and tasteless. The instant noodles here are much spicier than in Italy. Chinese food is very spicy and I like spicy food, but most Italian people don't," he said.
Aurore (pictured below) from France is also a new fan of spicy food after studying in Sichuan Province and becoming accustomed to the local style of cooking.
"We have spice in France but it is very sweet. It's not as hot as in China. It is interesting to bring spice from China to France to have my friends try it," she said.
Interestingly, while many Chinese travel overseas just to by authentic luxuries, foreigners travel to China to buy fakes.
For example, AP Plaza (one of the city's fake markets), located inside metro Line 2's Shanghai Science & Technology Museum Station, is a not-to-be-missed stop for foreign tourists.
"Every foreigner knows about it because it is very famous in Shanghai. You can shop for everything there and it is very cheap," said Aurore, who recently spent 800 yuan ($116.05) on knockoff shoes and scarves. "We have to negotiate, but you can buy 100 euro ($109.19) shoes for just 20 euros," she said.
Hiroshi said Italian shoes are famously expensive, so he is glad to only pay 40 yuan for Chinese-made shoes. "They are not bad and they are cheap. I have bought some pairs that lasted three years," he said, adding that as long as they "don't look fake" he doesn't mind wearing fakes.
Good and cheap
The South Bund Fabric Market is another favorite checkpoint for visiting foreigners. The market is home to hundreds of family-run personal tailors who can hand-prepare custom-made garments in any style in just a few days - and at only a third of Western prices.
Lucas Miltgen (pictured below) from France plans to bring back home an entire wardrobe of tailor-made suits and shirts and shoes. "In France it's very expensive. You can't buy a shirt for less than a hundred euros, while in Shanghai it's like 20 yuan," he said.
Hajar (pictured below) from France prefers purchasing custom-made athletic wear. "I bought some football jerseys of the Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Football Club for my brother, who told me that this team is becoming really famous."
Gadgets and appliances are also quite popular among foreign shoppers in Shanghai. Quentin (pictured below) from France got himself a small rice cooker. "It is very small and practical, I never found rice cookers so small in France," he said.
Lucas Aubourg (pictured below) from France bought himself a ring that can be attached to a mobile phone. "Such things don't exist in France. It is quite useful when you just want to hold it and watch a video," he said.
Photos: Global Times
Last but not least, classics such as tea, chopsticks and silks will always be must-have souvenirs for foreigners. Miltgen said he will bring home traditional white Chinese tea which is not found in France.
"I tasted white tea in China. It was really good and very cheap. If you want good Chinese tea in France, it might be like 100 euros per kilo," he said.
Quentin bought his brother a pair of small lion statuettes such as those made from stone placed in front of palaces and temples.
"He put it at the entry of his room to protect him and scare the bad spirits off," he said.