One of Shanghai’s major tourist attractions, the Xiangyang market, will definitively close this year according to today’s Shanghai Daily. The market, that mainly caters to tourists, sells the same fake brands as Beijing’s Silk market: From Lacoste and Ralph Lauren to Cartier and Burberry. And not just clothes, it also has shoes, watches, bags, and even Callaway golf clubs. I don’t like the place too much because of all the touts running around trying to lure foreigners into buying things they do not really want to buy. You cannot walk through it without people pulling your sleeves and following you while screaming “watch, DVD, bags” in your ear. But it is fun to watch tourists being ripped off while they still think they made a very good deal. Some people pay up to RMB 250 (EUR 25) for a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, that can normally be bought for RMB 30 without negotiating too hard, and still think they made a good deal. The best are US tourists that pay in USD, the moment they start to bargain in USD they can be assured to pay at least 4 times the going rate.
Although rumours have it that the market will re-open in Hongqiao, the newspaper writes that there is a chance the market will be rebuilt on Longhua Road, but without the fake articles. Yeah right, who believes that? It reminds me a bit of the Silk Alley in Beijing that was torn down. Six months later it re-appeared in a new building next to the original Silk Alley. If the government does not allow fake clothes to be sold such a market will be doomed to fail. Knowing Chinese business men a little bit I expect that another market will suddenly appear in another downtown place. Just pay the right people some money (or a share of profits) and you’re back in business.