Friday, August 31, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Missile launcher

           I traveled frequently for work to China. Sometime I stayed over the weekend where I had some team building exercise outing with my team members or just an leisure outing The most memorable outing was to Yongding County (永定县in Fujian Prefecture where the main attraction is the Hakka Tulou (土楼  - earthen house).         
        Yongding is about 4 hours west of Xiamen, close to the Guangdong border. The 4 of us - Zhang, Jackie, See and I, hired a rented car together with a driver and we took off after lunch on Friday from Xiamen. The road zigzagged through the mountainous terrain and I counted we went through 6 or 7 tunnels. Finally we arrived at Yongding around 7 pm. We checked in a spartan hotel and had dinner in the hotel itself. We had genuine Hakka dishes from the countryside - pork meat with preserved mustard green (梅菜扣肉), fried fresh green mustard (菜心), free range chicken in soy sauce (土鸡), bamboo shoots (竹笋),mushroom (香菇) and chicken soup, all dishes cooked in rural Hakka kampung (village) style. The taste were similar to one would we normally had in our kampung back home. 
The round and square Tulou of 
Yongding, Fujian
         The next morning we woke up earlier, raring to go on visiting Yongding famed Tulou - the Zhenchenglou Tulou. Zhenchenglou Tulou is a unique and mysterious Hakka architecture with a thick earth wall enclosure. It is a round enclosed building with a very thick earth wall which is up to 6 feet thick with wooden skeletons and some 4 stories high. It was said to house up to 80 families. It only has one entrance, guarded by 4-5 inch thick wooden doors reinforced with an outer shell of iron plate. The top level of these earth building have gun holes for defense against bandits. The open court yard in the center of the Tulou was where the main activities took place. It served as a common area for meetings, prayers, opera shows and merry making during marriages and Chinese New Year. The ground floor were typically for reared animals like pigs and chickens, 1st floor served as kitchens and bathrooms while 3rd floor and 4th floor were bedrooms. There were 2 wells dug in the Tulou itself, the yang well and the ying well, but they were now sealed off, worried that kids may fell in and drown. We also toured some other shape of Tulou around - the square ones and the hexagon ones, all similar layout but the shape was due to the fengshui belief of the Tulou  matriarch. What I find it amazing about these Tulou is the fact that in spite of the earth wall, some of them are more than 700 years old, surviving through centuries of natural elements, including earth quakes, yet still standing solid. 
Outside a Tulou in Nanjing country, Fujian 
Province on a team building trip with China
fellow colleagues
        On another trip we went to another Tulou with my China team members and American boss, we visited the Tulou in Nanjing county, Fujian, as a team building trip. As I had visited Tulou before, this trip was not an eye opener anymore. However the most memorable moment was when the Tulou tour guide related to us a great story about Tulou. Here is her story - "In the 1960s, it was said that when American satellite took pictures of China’s southern territory from outer space, the working staff were amazed to find there were many disturbing unidentified large buildings, some were round, some were square and some hexagon. The structures ran into thousands.The American thought they were missile-launch bases; they had unexpectedly found China was so strong in military power! The rumor was so strong that it lingered on through the US-Russia cold war period. Only after the establishment of Sino-USA diplomatic relations that the American knew that these “missile launch bases” were actually human dwellings known as Tulou Buildings after tourists and delegates toured the areas and send back photographs to Pentagon. I do not believe her story, but if it was, it will be a fun misread. I guess she used the story to impress tourists. 
          Now that we have Google satellite technology, I ran through the Tulou picture again. Yes, I can see why imagination ran wild back in the 60s. The satellite image (in black and white then) did showed rocket launching pads all over interior China!  
Tulou in Yongding in this Google 
Satellite picture looks like 
Silkworm missile launching pads

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Pick pocket

             In every country in the world there bound to be bad apples around and China is no exception. China is a very big country and the most populous one. Due to the sheer numbers of people there, one had to be very careful and never let the guard down. For this article I am putting down here some trivial lesson learnt on pick pocket in China. Hope its help someone, sometime, somewhere in China.

Video grab on pickpockets, they work in a 
gang, and tool of choice - a pair chopsticks         
         I traveled to Xiamen for work in October 2009 and stayed at Sheraton Xiamen hotel. That night I happened to watch a police documentary on pick pockets. They operate in group, using human shielding and distraction tactic and some may involved tool. Once a colleague of mine, Vivien, also visiting for work, became a victim in broad day light when she went shopping in a crowded place couple of years ago. She had her handbag that she carried on her back, a flashing neon light to crooks. Learning from her experience, I never put anything in my back pocket when I visited China. Fast forward, Rainbow, Jane, Zhang and Ina had planned to meet up for dinner after work the following day. Our dinner was at a restaurant behind my hotel so that I can just walked back after the meal. We took a bus from office and stopped at a bus stop opposite the entrance road to the restaurant. We crossed the main road using an overhead bridge. Rainbow was carrying a sling bag while Zhang, Jane and I carried our computer backpack.  As we entered the alley to the restaurant, it was quite dark, dimly lighted with yellow street light placed sparingly along the alley. In the corner of my eyes, I noticed 2 youngsters, not more than 18, walked very close together behind us, holding hands. "Weird, this may be pick pockets", I told myself, remembering the film that I watched yesterday. "I must take care of my wallet", shifting it from my back pocket to the front pocket of my Docker trouser. We continued to walk along with the youngsters at our back while Zhang had walked ahead to look for the restaurant actual location.
Pickpocket start training since small.
Watch out for men, women and kid
whose eyes scouting around.  
          Then suddenly Rainbow shouted in Chinese, "Ei, why your hand is in my bag?", holding on to one of the youngster hand that had slid into Rainbow's bag. Without thinking I lunged toward the youngster and locked my fingers, judoka's style, onto his shirt collar while my left hand held his right wrist. "Pickpocket, pickpocket, someone called Kong An (police)", Rainbow shouted out loud. A crowd started to congregate, and Jane was shouting for Zhang. "See if you lost anything?", I barked at Rainbow. The youngster that I held on pleaded to be let go and said he did not steal anything. Another youngster (I believe his gang members) came up to me and asked me to release the kid, stating the youngster did not do anything. The kid I was holding pulled out his wallet with his left hand to show it was empty. Jane asked me to release the kid but I still did not let go. Rainbow had rummaged through her bag and declared that she did not lost any thing. The kid tried to twist his way out and I nearly head butted him until Zhang came up. I thought Zhang had grabbed the youngster, but in a moment he twisted free and fled in a flash, followed by 2 or 3 other youngsters. Shaken by this incident and as soon as we got back our composure when the adrenaline subsided, we proceeded to the restaurant.
        At the restaurant, we related the incident to Ina who was waiting for us. I told everyone about the film I watched to explain why I was very alert. I added that I thought the pickpocket was targeting Jane or me because of our backpack at our back, not realizing Rainbow was the target. Rainbow mentioned that her purse and cell phone was at the bottom of her sling bag with her notebook on top, effectively blocked the pickpocket's hand from reaching the smaller items. Jane explained that she was worried that among the crowd, other pickpocket member may have knife and will use it on me. Silly me,  I never thought of the potential danger I was in then, but definitely next time, no more hero for me. Luckily no one gets hurt and I got a great story to be retold. What a night! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Fapiao Invoice

         China is a very big country and the most populous one. Due to the sheer numbers of people there, one had to be very careful and never let the guard down. For this article I am putting down here some of the trivial lessons learnt on dining out in China. 
          Food securities are big problem in China. There had been many reported cases of major food security issue - namely Malachite Green chemical abuse in eel (unagi) exports to Japan in 2007, Melamine chemical abuse in infant formula milk powder in 2007/8, tainted buns in 2011, and the latest one was Lou Kou Yu (娄沟油 gutter oil) abuse. China authority had been very strict on food safety in recent times. On the melamine case, two main culprits, a milk collection manager and a milk sales distributor, were executed by firing squad in 2009 to serve as a warning and reminder to companies not to mess around with food safety. On the gutter oil issue, which is recycled oil from frying that was normally poured into gutter (hence the nickname 'gutter oil'),  you can reduce the risk by avoiding cheap restaurants and go to a reputable restaurant instead. It is just not worth the risk being too cheap.
Example of Xiamen's fapiao, which is 
prepaid invoice that business entities 
bought from the government.
         Food security aside, beyond the abundant of good food one finds in China, I learnt of a good practice about dining in China is getting 'fapiao' (发票 -  Invoice), essentially a prepaid invoice of sales tax paid to the government. To encourage consumers to ask for fapiao, some local governments implemented a 'scratch and win' system, not different from the notorious 'scratch and win' scam in Malaysia. Basically after you have paid for the food, you will be handed fapiao that may hidden small sum of winnings. You scratched off the top right hand corner to see if you win anything - RMB10 or RMB20 or simply a "Thank you (谢谢)“. There were rumors of fapiao winning can be as high as RMB10,000 but I am not sure how true it is. Please note that by getting the fapiao, you actually helps China government to get the tax you had paid, else the restaurant just pocketed itMost of the time, my fapiao only yielded 谢谢您 (thank you), but occasionally I do have some small winnings throughout 10 years of my travel to China. 
Most 'scratch and win' fapiao will just 
have a 'thank you' note, like mine here
           Once such incident was my lunch with Maria and April in Shanghai in a restaurant below our office one fine spring in 2010. The bill was RMB150 and we asked for the fapiao as I needed them too for my company expense report. We were handed 3 pieces of RMB50 fapiao and the each of us were happily scratching one, not expecting anything. I scratched mine but this time the first letter was not 谢. I excitedly scratched the rest and showed it to Maria who shrieked "Max, you won RMB50". I had never won more than RMB10 on 'scratch and win' fapiao before. Maria signalled the waitress to come over and showed her the fapiao, but she told us to claim it from bank. Perplexed, I inquired the need to do so. It turns out that only winnings amounted to RMB20 or less can be redeemed from the restaurant, higher winnings need to be claimed from government owned bank. I gave the winning fapiao to Maria and April since it will be a hassled for me to claim."Thanks to Max, we got to eat for free and now we got some cash too", replied April, smiling so sweetly. 
         I wished that this fapiao practice can be implemented in my country as currently I am unsure if the 6%  or so government tax that I paid to restaurants actually end up with the government. Should there be some religious concerns on this 'scratch and win' practice, then all winnings should be donated to charity. Way to go, China!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Taxi Rides

          China is a very big country and the most populous one. Due to the sheer numbers of people there, one had to be very careful and never let the guard down. For this article I am putting down here some of the trivial lessons learnt on taking taxi experience in China. Hope its help someone, sometime, somewhere in China.
Taxis are common and convenient 
in China
         Almost all taxis in China run on meter fare. When one gets into the taxi, the driver will press down the taxi marker to indicate that the taxi is occupied. Many taxi drivers are not from the local area and most of them do not speak English. Many a times the name in Chinese pronunciation may be the same as in English but most of it is different. Example, Marco Polo sounds the same in English and in Chinese, so all taxi drivers know it. However be careful if there are many Marco Polo around, like Marco Polo Hotel (马可波罗酒店), Marco Polo Bar, Marco Polo Pub and Marco Polo restaurant. Some other names are totally different when mentioned in Chinese. Example Renaissance Hotel is called Wan Li Jiu Dian (万丽酒店) in Chinese. If you tell the driver you want to go Renaissance Hotel as in its English name, they will just shake their head. If you do not know the place you are visiting well, it helps to get someone write out the destination in big letters in Chinese before hand. Why big letters - in case taxi driver is above 40's and their eyesight is no more as good as it used to be. If you are staying in hotel, you may ask the bellboy to tell the driver the destination in Chinese. 
This taxi receipt had the taxi
number 'D-T007', date and
time, re
ducing the risk of 
being fleeced!
        Taxi driver had a duty to get you to your destination in shortest route and time. If they foresee traffic jam or other obstruction, they have to get your permission to use a longer route, meaning higher fare. When arriving at destination always ask the driver to print a receipt. This is important because the receipt will show the taxi's plate number, date, time and fare amount. Note that there may be some additionally RMB1 or RMB2 charges on fuel surcharge to be paid on top of the meter fare. By getting a receipt you reduce the risk of being ripped off, either being charged an exorbitant fare or being duped with counterfeit money. Also if you left something behind in the taxi, at least you get the taxi's plate number. If you believe you are being duped, you can lodge a complaint with the traffic authority. The Chinese government took this offence seriously, especially if it involved foreigners. I remembered once a colleague, Alice, was on a taxi in Xiamen island, going from Crown Prince Harbour View Hotel to her office near the airport. There were 2 routes to her destination, a shorter one with more traffics, and the other one was around the island. The taxi driver pulled a fast one on her and used the longer route without asking her permission. The fare was about RMB68 versus the usual fare of RMB23. Alice paid up and later lodged a complaint with the authority after she related her story to her Chinese colleague. The driver was hauled up and slapped with a fine and suspended from of driving the taxi for 3 months. Alice got all her RMB68 fare back and feeling a little bit guilty. 
        In all my ride in a taxi, my right hand will be perpetually on to the handle on the taxi's ceiling as these taxis driver are born racer. Anyone who took a taxi in China can testify to that. At zebra crossing, it is the pedestrian that need to look out for oncoming traffic, not the other way round. I always thought, "zebra crossing in China is for zebras, not for people". I probed once with the driver why they do not let pedestrians crossed at zebra crossing. "Brother, time is money. See those peoples wanting to cross the street. If I let them pass, then I will have to wait for the endless stream on people to cross before we can go our way", he tried to justify his action in his reply. "What if you hit them", I asked back. "Hit them, then it is bad luck. We will be hauled up by Kong An (公安 - police). However the pedestrians are used to give ways to taxi, so we are OK", he replied, smilingly. God bless China!
Family waiting to cross using zebra crossing 
have to look out for oncoming cars!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Money matters

          In every country in the world there bound to be bad apples around and China is no exception. China is a very big country and the most populous one. Due to the sheer numbers of people there, one had to be very careful and never let the guard down. For this article I am putting down here some of the trivial lesson learnt on money matters throughout my travels in China. Hope its help someone, sometime, somewhere in China.

1. Bring more cash. Even though credit cards are widely accepted in China, be warned that most smaller establishments only accept 'local' credit card and not 'international' credit card. Local credit cards are those issued by China's local bank (Bank of China, Agriculture Bank of China, China Communication Bank, China Development Bank, ICBC,  etc) where the merchants were charged lower commission compared to international issued Visa/Mastercard/Amex/JCB card. Some big hotels and restaurants do accept 'international' credit cards; and if they don't they will tell you, or your card transaction would not go through. The cash is to tide you through such embarrassment of not being able to pay through card.

2. Change your cash into Renminbi in your home country rather than in China. This is due to risk of getting fake currency and lesser than favorable exchange rate that you will get in China. It it very hard to spot fake currency. If you are not able to change to RMB cash prior to arriving in China, do not be tempted by touts promising high exchange rate. Change them only with reputable banks or with your hotel even though the rates will not be as good as you may get in your home country. 

3. When you change your cash to Renminbi in your home country typically you will get large notes (like RMB100s only). Fret not. After you checked in hotel, you may change 1 or 2 of the RMB100 notes to smaller denomination with the hotel cashier, asking for RMB5s, RMB10s or RMB20s. This small notes are useful for tips, taxi's fare or to buy from street vendors or shops.

All China paper currencies has portrait 
of Mao Tse Tung. It is hard to detect 
fake currency for the untrained eyes.
4. When paying for taxi's fare or goods from street vendor or shop, try to pay by the exact amount or close to it if possible. Example, if the taxi fare or apples bought from the street is RMB15.00, give them exact, or RMB20, and not with a RMB100 note. This is to avoid sleight of hand that the taxi/vendor will change your big note to fake ones and ask you for another piece. Some of the taxi and vendors earn meager income daily, so if the opportunity arises, they will capitalize on it. Some of them are so good at it that you do not realized you are being duped until they are long gone.

5. Once a deal is completed with money had changed hand and you had walked out of the taxi or shops, never entertained the driver or shopkeeper that will come running back after you, claiming the money you gave is fake. Told them the money had changed hand and out of sight, and if they are not happy, then they can call the police.

6. Do not be greedy, no matter how good a deal is. If a deal is too good to be true, it is, especially when bystander whisper to you how good it is. Its time to get away fast.

Be street smart and learn from some of my mistakes in China.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Shanghai "A" Goods

   I traveled to Shanghai to meet suppliers together with my colleagues, Roy from America and Ger from Ireland, in the spring of 2010. End of day 1, Roy, Ger and I decided to head off to Underground Market at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum as they wanted to buy some branded faked stuffs.  I did not have anything in mind but just tagged along. From our hotel Renaissance Zhongshan Hotel at Zhongsan Road we took the subway line 2 and arrived at Science and Technology Museum’s exit after 5 stops.  We were greeted by flashing neon and fluorescent lights with shop attendants belting out welcoming phrase to come in to check out their stores and goods.  There were a lot of stuffs here but one have to bargain hard to get the best deal.  
Jersey shop picture from
    Bargaining came as a second nature to us due to our line of work. Ger had his eyes on a pair of headphones and sport jerseys, while Roy wanted to get sport jerseys for his kids. The bargaining process was quite energetic and funny between Roy and the lady assistant, while Ger and I just stand aside, watching the whole process. The lady attendant spoke broken English, but with a lot of charming and alluring language thrown in. She would poked a number onto a calculator and showed it to Roy, who then poked another number and returned it to her. She shook her head, gave the sweetest pleading smile and poked another number. This goes on many times and then Roy walked out the shop. She came out after Roy, poking another number, and Roy shook his head yet again and re-poked another one. Finally after 1 hour of haggling, they agreed on the price for the jersey – haggled down from RMB 125 to RMB 25. Once Roy got his jerseys, Ger and I jumped in – I bought 2 Man U jerseys and Ger bought 5, all at the same price that Roy just negotiated. He negotiated hard and we got the fruits of his labor. That was what friends are for! As a courtesy, both Ger and I treated Roy to a Sichuan dinner. Anyone who ate Sichuan dishes knew they were loaded with peppers! Sweats rolled down Ger’s Irish pale skin forehead but he kept on mumbling “delicious, delicious” while wiping his sweat.
         After dinner we strolled on, browsing shops upon shops selling cheap toys - Lego, Barbie, Sesame Street, etc; luggage, fake iPod/iPhone accessories and myriads of Chinese arts and decorative stuffs. Ger further bought a copied Sennheiser head phone and a set of Chinese satin clothing, the one wore by elderly Chinese in morning martial arts exercise in parks all over Shanghai, but we did not jump in. "I will wear them as pyjamas" Ger said, gesturing to the cream colored satin clothes. I laughed to myself, imagined Ger in Chinese Kung Fu's attire, going to sleep back in Ireland. With that we headed back to hotel before the shutters came down for the night. Over the next couple of days, I tagged along with Roy for shopping - he haggles, I buy, and I did bought quite a lot. That was fun shopping that way. Ha Ha Ha!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Asian Eyes' China, Shanghai - "A" Goods Shopping 2

      A continuation of previous post on cheat sheet on Shanghai "A" good (read: copied goods). Happy Shopping and Haggling.

Part 2 of 2

12)   Woman’s Bag (e.g. Coach, LV) – Initial offer: 300 – 1000 RMB. You pay: 100 RMB. 100 RMB seems to be the sweet spot for bag prices. You may need to pay a bit more, but not much. Use 100 RMB as a starting point for even the best woman’s bags. Because you can find these bags at multiple stalls, don’t waiver from your 100 RMB price at the first stand. If they say no, walk out and try a slightly higher price at the next stand.
13)   Leather Designer Belt – Initial offer: 80 – 150 RMB. You pay: 25 RMB. Depending on the fake market dealer, the quality of the belt, and the location of the store, you may need to pay a bit more. However, start at 25 RMB  for the best of belts and go elsewhere if your offer isn’t accepted.
14)   T-Shirts (e.g. Shanghai shirts, Billabong shirts) – Initial offer: around 100 RMB. You pay: 25 RMB. You likely would hesitate to pay 100 RMB for a plain shirt in your home country. Why pay it in China. 25 RMB is a fair price.
15)   Northface Fleece Jacket – Initial offer: around 400 RMB. You pay: 150 RMB. You may be able to get a little lower depending on the time of day, quality, and location.
16)   Laptop Bag – Initial offer: 300 – 700 RMB. You pay: 60 RMB. Even the best leather bags can be had for well under 100 RMB. Choose the best and offer 60 RMB. If you can’t get it for this price, go to the next stand and offer 65 or 70 RMB.
17)   Northface large backpack  Initial offer: 250 – 400 RMB. You pay: 75 RMB. Make sure all the staps click together and the sewing is correct.
18)   Large 4 Wheel Suitcase (e.g. Samsonite, Swiss Army) – Initial offer: 400 – 800 RMB. You pay: 150 RMB. Again, this price may be too low, but because you can find these vendors everywhere, test out the 150 RMB price and slowly work your way up if you are rejected from the first vendor. There is no way that you should pay more than 200 RMB for the best of suitcases.
19)   Software / DVDs
a) DVDs  -  Initial Price: 15 – 20 RMB. You pay: 5 or 9 RMB. The cost all depends on the quality of the DVD. If it is DVD 9, you should pay 9 RMB. If it is not, pay 5 RMB. You can get a small discount if you buy in bulk.
b) Software – Initial price: 30 – 400 RMB. You pay: 15 RMB. The cost to the dealer to create the software is maybe 10 RMB. Therefore, giving a 5 RMB premium over cost is fair. If you buy software with multiple disks, increase the price by 10 RMB per CD. You may also need to pay a slight premium for software that is hard to find. Don’t get fooled into paying a large premium for expensive products such as Rosetta Stone. Also, be aware that some software may not work for your computer.
20)   iPhone portable charger: Initial price: 150 – 300 RMB. You pay: 40 or 70 RMB. If you buy the 1000 mAh charger, look to pay 40 RMB. If you buy the 1900 mAh charger, look to pay 70 RMB (possibly cheaper). If you are in the United States now, you may opt to simply buy the 1900 mAh charger through Amazon now at under US$14.
21)   Wii, Xbox, and Playstation games – Initial price: 15 – 50 RMB. You pay: 5 – 10 RMB. This is a pretty well established price range for CD video games in Shanghai fake markets. No need to pay more than 10. Wii games usually run at 5 RMB, however other system games may be a bit more. Not all games will work perfectly, but the majority will be fine. Make sure to verify that the games are English games.
22)   Nintendo DS games – Initial price: around 100 RMB. You pay: 20 RMB. Depending on other factors, you may end up paying 25 RMB for your DS games. If so, don’t worry. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Shanghai "A" Goods Shopping 1

          My work requires me to travel frequently to China and among my favorite city there is Shanghai. Let me start with my first China's travel tale with shopping in Shanghai. For those who of you who went to China, haggling over prices can sometime be mind boggling and frustrating. Who do not like a bargain? Who likes the feeling of paying RMB300 for a bag, and then as you walk down the the shop, other shopkeeper who saw the bag you were carrying, called out RMB150 for it? Here is a cheat sheet on Shanghai "A" goods (read: copied goods), so that you know where you stand on your price and not get rip off. I got this list from a mutual friend and now would like to give you guys the tips. Happy Shopping and Haggling.

         Part 1 of 2:

Fake Clothes / Bags / Accessories
1)      Sunglasses (e.g. Oakleys) – Initial offer: 100 – 300 RMB. You pay: 10 – 20 RMB. You can find a variety of quality in the sunglasses that you see. Some look to be decent quality, some not so decent. The best quality sunglasses (with “UV Protection”) may run you up to 30 RMB depending on the time of day and vendor, but it may be possible to go down as low as 20 RMB.
2)      Jeans (e.g. Diesel) – Initial offer: 200 – 500 RMB. You pay: 50 – 140 RMB. Like the sunglasses above, the price of jeans will vary based on quality. The best quality fake jeans in Shanghai can be found at 580 Nanjing Rd, where the copies are nearly identical to the real versions. However, if you buy at Qipu Rd, you shouldn’t pay any more than 60 RMB for a pair of jeans. At Science & Technology Museum Metro you should be able to get a pair of jeans for roughly 80 RMB.
3)      Small Scarf – Initial offer: 70 – 100 RMB. You pay: 10 RMB. Any small scarf should run you 10 RMB.
4)      Large Cashmere Scarf – Initial offer: 100 – 200 RMB. You pay: 40 RMB. This is like the large LV scarf that you see at a variety of stands. You may be able to get down to 30 RMB if you are in the right situation.
5)      Casual Shoes (e.g. Converse, Diesel) – Initial offer – 200 – 400 RMB. You pay: 50 – 60 RMB. If there is nothing too fancy about the shoes, you should be able to get them for 50 – 60 RMB after hard bargaining. If this offer doesn’t work, go to similar shops and bump up by 5 RMB each time.
6)      Sports Shoes (e.g. Nike) – Initial offer – 300 – 400 RMB. You pay: 100 RMB. If the shoes are fancy and have quality soles and decoration, the cost may bump up to 100 RMB. 100 RMB should be able to get you any non-work shoes.
7)      Dress Shoes (custom made) – Initial offer: 500 – 800 RMB. You pay: 150 RMB. If 150 RMB doesn’t work, go to the next stall and try 155 RMB. Keep this going until you get the lowest price. No matter what, you should never pay more than 200 RMB for a pair of shoes.
8)      Uggs – Initial offer: 400 – 600 RMB. You pay: 110 RMB. No need to pay full price for your Uggs. 110 RMB should be a solid offer.
9)      Calvin Klein boxer briefs – Initial offer: 20 – 50 RMB. You pay: 6 RMB. The offer may need to be bumped up 1 or 2 RMB, but never go over 10 RMB for these.
10)   Socks – Initial price: 15 RMB / pair. You pay 5 RMB / pair. You may even be able to go lower based on how many socks you buy.
11)   Top Quality Automatic Watches – Initial offer 500 – 2000 RMB. You pay: 120 – 250 RMB. To get the best quality watches, tell the vendor that you want better quality watches when he brings out the first batch of watches. When he brings out the second batch, ask again for better quality. If he can’t bring out better, you have the best quality of watches. You may want to leave this vendor to go to another to see if you can find even better quality watches. When you shop for fake watches, make sure you read original author's guide on negotiation strategies in the fake market and read the comments below on fake watches. Shop to the best of your abilities and be happy with your purchase (just promise me that you won’t spend over 400 RMB, under any circumstances).