Hangzhou may not be a shopper’s paradise like Shanghai or Hong Kong but it can hold its own in terms of the range of deals and products that you can ultimately find. The traditional staples of Hangzhou commerce include silk and tea. In modern times, however other less unique items such as electronics, designer brands and shoes have also joined the pantheon of shopper’s delight. Below are a few recommendations for great shopping spots. By no means is the list comprehensive but it provides a sample of shopping Hangzhou style.
Silk Market 杭州中国丝绸城
For shoppers who are interested in a taste of real Hangzhou, the silk market is the place to be. Hangzhou has been a center of silk production since the Qing dynasty where the Qiantang River area served as a perfect natural habitat for silkworms. The current incarnation of this centralized silk market started in 1987. It now includes over 600 shops covering 25,000 square metres. The market deals in both wholesale and retail. It is a major launching point of silk trade worldwide. They sell everything from fabric to scarves, dresses, handicrafts and more. In recent years, as part of a concerted effort with the tourism industry and the Chinese Silk Museum, the market has put more emphasis on traditional Chinese culture. Hangzhou also boasts several art and science education and research institutions that focus exclusively on refining and furthering the silk industry. Elements of modern design and technology can be seen in today’s Hangzhou silk.
Address: 253 Xinhua Lu, Xiacheng District, Hangzhou
Tel：0571 8510 0255
Opening hours: 08:00 -17:00
Getting there：Bus No. 11 or 28
Nine Stars Clothes Market 九星服装市场
Ever wonder how the chic youngsters with entry level income can afford their designer getups at astronomical department store prices? They don’t! They go to places like Nine Stars Clothes Market, which is a giant wholesale fashion market that sells designer labels as well as knock-offs at a little more than factory prices. Nine Stars stands out amongst its peers as the most put together. Still, you will have to wade through an endless clutter to find what you are looking for. But at 20-25 Yuan a piece, you can afford to make a few blunder buys.
This is a place for serious shoppers. One should have some idea of what they are looking for, quickly develop a pricing range and a stoic bargaining face. The various boutiques on Wulin Street are good places to brainstorm since they often carry picked out and marked up versions of Nine Star Market items. Another less obvious benefit of the market is that since most of the items are made for export, this is one of the few places in Hangzhou where you can get truly XXL articles.
Address: 18 Hanghai Lu, Jianggan District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8780 5867
Opening Hours: Daily, 9:00-17:00
Getting there：Bus No. K300, K399, K515, K517, K649
Gaoxin Computer Market 高新电脑城
You can find everything electronic from cell phones to speakers to cameras, video cameras, bootleg DVDs and of course computers at Gaoxin Computer Market. The computers come in all major brands including Dell, IBM, HP, Asus, Sony and now Apple has really been penetrating the Chinese market. In fact, on the 12th floor, there is even an Apple repair centre. They don’t actually repair anything; they just replace broken parts so long as you still have the warranty. If you don’t have warranty then you can ask around in this electronics sanctuary to find someone（or someone who knows someone）with the welding know-how to work on the circuitry. If your machine is really unrepairable, you can also take it to one of the experts on the first floor；they will give you near second-hand market rates for the remaining usable parts. On a laptop, for example, the screen is the most valuable component. A broken computer can be let go of here for a somewhat okay deal.
Buying new machines is easy although a little overwhelming with the amount of choices you have. Locals like to look up models and prices on Taobao.com (the Chinese Amazon) and try to haggle their way to an online deal. Although the shops will often smirk and say, “We’re the store that put that listing online”. Either way, you will get a good deal. The actual prices of computers are a lot lower than the prices listed on the tag next to the machine. If you are buying a laptop, you can achieve further price reduction if you forego accessories you don’t want such as mouse or carrying case. The operating systems, warrantees and other authorizations are totally legit. As for cameras, most high end cameras have a mainland price and a Hong Kong price or a water-route price，which is the lower price.
Address: 345 Wenshan Lu, Xihu District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 5677 2380
Opening hours: 09:00-18:00
Getting there：Take Bus No. 15, K15, 74, 179, 203, 290 and 527 to Jiulianxincun Stop