On April 30th 2015, China’s ninth and the largest MixC shopping mall had its grand opening in Qingdao. The first MixC opened in 2004 in Shenzhen, South China and since then they have opened other branches around China. MixC developer China Resources means “the great land of China, endowed with abundant natural resources”. China Resources Land Limited is one of the most powerful comprehensive real estate developers. The new shopping mall is located on Hong Kong Middle Road, one of the main routes in Qingdao.
So what makes this particular subdivision of MixC in Qingdao so special? Apart from the fact it contains the world’s 3rd JOYPOLIS indoor theme park (other 2 in Tokyo and Dubai), yes a rollercoaster in the middle of a shopping mall! Inside the huge shopping mall, it also includes the most expensive cinema investment in China (with four kinds of special effects rooms including IMAX and 4D) and an Olympic standard size ice skating rink which is going to host the Skate Asia 2015. There are over 400 popular fashion stores, dining restaurants, cafes and entertainment/leisure facilities in this gigantic plaza.
Qingdao is located in East China, Shandong province. It is a small city compared with other Chinese cities. However, the establishment of MixC luxury shopping mall will hopefully help to develop the city even more than it already has in recent years. “We want to build a good public space for Qingdaonese, where people not only come to shop, but can also have a coffee, watch a movie, or even do nothing at all and just stroll around. It will be a good place for leisure and entertainment in Qingdao.”-Dave Chen (General Manager of Qingdao MixC). Ref: Redstar
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I’ve been in Qingdao for 4 weeks now and have been settled really well here. The initial feeling of just being on a vacation is over and I have finally realized that this is my new home for the next 5 months. There are many things I really appreciate here in China; One new activity I’ve really fallen in love with is my absolutely favorite online shopping website www.taobao.com. It’s a paradise for everyone even if you are not into shopping at all.
A relatively young company just like any of these e-shopping platforms, Taobao was founded in 2003 by the Alibaba Group. Very similar in process to the famous Amazon and Ebay sites, it facilitates C2C transactions which aids the sale of goods for individual’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. According to a Wikipedia statistic there were around 800 million product listings even in 2103 so girls you cannot say there is not enough choice for shoes!
But for me, and let’s say I might be a little shopping addict – its heaven. Taobao is offering all brands from around the world for just the purchase price. Due to the fact that most of the European and American brands are producing here in china, everything is very cheap. Like I said, its HEAVEN on earth.
For example this week, I ordered two dresses and one top of Zara, one TopShop dress and a really nice necklace for about 350RMB means around 40€ which is very cheap compared to the prices I normally pay in Germany. Unfortunately, you are is only able to order stuff from taobao via a Chinese bank account which means my lovely colleague Amber helps me out with that, poor her. But my closet in Germany will be thankful for her help! I already have a list for other clothes I will buy in the next few days, but well.. you only live once and like it’s said life is a party and you should dress like it.
The only question that will come up now is of course, how I get all this stuff home?! Well to be honest, I haven’t really thought about that. At the moment I’m acting more like a hamster that gorges himself for the winter. I still have 5 month left which probably means in the end I have to get a second suitcase but well, it’s defiantly worth it 😉
Take a look !!! www.taobao.com
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Located in South-western China, Chengdu is known as one of the top economic capitals in China. In 2013, the Chengdu Retail Industry Association released a report showing 3752.9 billion RMB spending in Chengdu, with 64% of that spent on consumer goods – clothes, jewellery, home appliances etc. Chengdu’s retail and consumer market is growing rapidly. Recently, more huge malls are popping up all over the city, adding to the many already existing international shopping centres around town.
With all of the options available to you, you’re going to need to the “must-see shopping areas” of Chengdu.
1. Chunxi Lu (春熙路)
The Chunxi Road Business Zone used to be the largest and most popular shopping districts in the early nineties even though the shopping area was just a single pedestrian street in downtown Chengdu in the past, but now it has developed and spread to become much larger, covering several city blocks and spilling over in all directions.
The biggest draws to this shopping district are the three mega malls which sell everything from imported goods to local vegetables, including apparel, appliances and even sporting equipment. Ito Yokado and Isetan are the two large Japanese mega malls that carry big-name brands, such as Coach, SWAROVSKI, GODIVA, and ZARA, as well as whole floors devoted to kids games, electronics and Asian foods. You’ll find sushi, sukiyaki, and Japan’s famous Tonkatsu Wako, as well as local Sichuan places, Hong Kong restaurants, and Western-style cafes in both Ito Yokado and Isetan.
Chicony is a Taiwanese-developed shopping mall where you’ll find many high-end brands, such as Rolex, Tommy Hilfiger, BVLGARI, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, and Lacoste. The entire 9th floor of the Chicony mall is a boardwalk of many international foods including Korean, Hong Kong, Indian, Japanese, and Thai. You’ll even find Papa John’s pizza if you’re looking for that American flavour!
More than just a simple shopping area, Chunxi Lu is also an important landmark in downtown Chengdu. It lies just east of the Mao Statue on Tianfu Square and serves as a symbolic boundary (along with Mao) between the north-south and east-west parts of the city. A statue of 孙中山 (Sun Yat-Sen) stands in the central square of the shopping district. Sun Yat-Sen is known as the founder of modern China, and also “The Father of the Nation”.
Since Chengdu Metro Line 2 opened, Chunxi Lu is now easily reachable through the Chunxi Lu (春熙路) stop – one stop east of the Tianfu Square interchange.
2. Raffles City （来福士广场）
Raffles City is one of Chengdu’s newest mall which is one of malls in my recommendation list, having opened on 23th September, 2012. It was developed by the Singaporean firm Capitaland. The mall was designed by world-renowned architect Steven Holl, and has quickly become an iconic structure on the south side of the city, right off of the city’s main artery – Renmin Road. The building also includes the dramatic Light Pavilion, an experimental art installation by designer Lebbeus Woods.
Raffles City offers a breath of fresh air for both local and foreigners in Chengdu. Unlike other shopping centres, Raffles City is almost pure international flavour: more than 70% of all outlets are the types of foreign brands you would find at a comparable mall back home, including a spectacular grocery store, TREAT, which carries an incredibly large selection of foreign groceries at affordable prices. Raffles City is a mixed-use development, so the complex includes retail, food, entertainment outlets, and office space.
Raffles City is also the home of Lumière Pavilions, one of only 15 theatres worldwide that use the new Dolby Atmos sound format (referred to as LD in China), lauded for giving users a 4D-like experience. The first movie to be shown using this technology will be Taken 2. Next to the theatres, you’ll also find a state of the art arcade with all of the newest games.
Raffles City is easily reachable by Chengdu Metro Line 1, at the Sichuan Gymnasium (省体育馆) stop.
3. International Financial Square (IFS)
IFS is the mall I recommend the most. Occupying the most coveted location within the core business district in the heart of Chengdu, IFS has been conceived as a ‘city within a city’. The retail podium offers luxury and flagship retail, entertainment and a food and beverage terrace featuring international cuisine, al fresco dinning and a sculpture garden. The scheme aims to celebrate the city by amplifying the spirit of the street. At the same time, innovative and international ideas have been injected to create a new financial, culture, leisure and entertainment hub.
After opening in January 2014, IFS has established itself as a new landmark and benchmark for the city and western China. My recommendation is go to try every restaurant in IFS – especially the Very Thai Restaurants in 7th floor – they all worthy of tasting.
IFS is easily reachable by Chengdu Metro Line 2, at the Chunxi Lu (春熙路) stop.
4. Yanlord Landmark (仁恒置地广场)
Opened in 2010, Yanlord Landmark is a mall dedicated solely to luxury brands. Several of the world’s largest luxury brands have their Chengdu flagship stores in the Yanlord Landmark complex, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Burberry, Canali, Berlutti and Hugo Boss. The Yanlord Landmark’s entire concept is based around luxury living, so the decor, layout and storefronts strive to reflect that concept. The mixed-use development has several high-end restaurants, excellent spas, and one of Yanlord Landmark’s finest features: the ultra-luxurious Fraser Suites serviced apartments.
Yanlord Landmark is easily reachable with Metro Line 1 at the Jinjiang Hotel (锦江宾馆) stop.
Chengdu is growing and evolving at a rapid pace, with more and more mega-malls going up each year. I will continue to update this space with new and exciting locations for shopping, but for now check out these other great locations:
Wang Fu Jing (王府井): A well-known Chinese mall with two locations in Chengdu. One location north of Chunxi Lu, and the second just south of the Nijiaqiao (倪家桥) subway station on Metro Line 1.
9 Square (九方购物中心): Another new mall which opened in September. Accessible by subway at the Incubation Park (孵化园) stop on Metro Line 1.
Wanda Mall (万达广场): A large mall right on the east side of the city, bordering 2nd ring road that offers some international brands, as well Japan’s department store, Ito Yokado. Unlike, Chunxi Lu’s Ito Yokado, this location stocks extra foreign goods for the neighbouring western people living in Jade City.
UNO Mall (富力天汇中心): A large mall that carries UNIQLO, H&M, a movie theatre, skating rink, and a floor that sells cars. This mall is northwest of Chunxi Lu.
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When you read this I might already be drowned by heavy rain or burned by scorching sunlight. The past few day’s weather in Zhuhai has been crazy!
“April, April, der macht was er will.”
This weekend – which was a long one thanks to the Chinese Qingming Holiday – is a good example of crazy weather. Starting with a sunny Friday morning, which really got our office in the holiday spirit, but then continued with clouds and mist. It was still quite warm though. After work we went for dinner, drinks and Go-Karting – it was the first time ever for me… I loved it!! 😀
Then we had an awesome Saturday with sunshine all day. As I had a visitor from Harbin, we went to a palace which is a replica of the summer palace in Beijing. We walked around in the park behind it and climbed a mountain to have a look over Zhuhai. From the peak we could also see Macau. Afterwards we went to the beach, grabbing a cold drink on our way. The day ended with a Korean BBQ, a walk on Barstreet and dancing in a club called Miu Miu. We have some quite descent dancers in our interns group!
As you can imagine, our Sunday started rather late. But it wasn’t too bad as it was raining. On our way to get some waffles and noodles for brunch, we had to negotiate our way around and over puddles. Sure the paper bag with our waffles inside got wet and ripped. Although we didn’t mind as I managed to save the waffles. Being back in the apartment we crawled underneath our blankets on the couch and watched a movie while enjoying our food. It was really cozy. ^.^
For dinner we met some interns at a Muslim restaurant, and then we went to their apartment for a relaxing bottle or two of Tsingtao and some baijiu! It was interesting to listen to some of the stories from our interns who have already been here for quite a long time. Most of them were quite tired from the weekend’s partying so far and some had to work the next day, so we didn’t stay up too late.
I was in a fortunate position as I had the Monday off. So after I hung up my freshly washed clothes above the balcony to dry and had breakfast; I took Li to my favorite place in Zhuhai: the underground market. Of course I couldn’t resist buying some clothes and perfume. Oh and the weather… it was dry and a little sunny in the morning. After we left the underground the rain started again. We hurried underneath a sushi stand were we enjoyed some tasty morsels whilst watching the rain pour down. Later in the evening it was dry again – unlike my clothes above the balcony…!!
We decided to the Factory (a bar in Huafa) were they had a ‘Happy Monday – Buy one, get one free’ offer. On our way there we stopped to see a water fountain show. Who needs Vegas?! As they make really good Pizzas in the Factory we ordered two and got four. Awesome! But I was sooo stuffed afterwards. We then had a fun round of darts together!
It was a great weekend.
See you and 再见，
Gianna aka Gini aka 吉娜
When I traveled to China I was only allowed to take a suitcase no heavier than 21 kg with me and a hand luggage of 5 kg. For guys, no problem. For girls, “What the heck am I gonna take with me?? *completely desperate*”. For my trip to Korea last year I took half my closet – which was not a good idea because shopping there is just SO awesome: underground market here (mostly at the metro stations), street market there, shopping e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!
So before I started my journey to China I thought deeply about what to take with me. What is really necessary? What can I buy there? I asked some of my Chinese friends, they told me that shopping is really nice and affordable in China. So I made up my mind and only packed what I really needed. I ended up with exactly 21.2 kg for my suitcase and 5.7 kg for my hand luggage (including my laptop which is exempt from the check-in’s weight restrictions). Still I had a bad feeling about it. What if I forget something? I checked my packing list at least ten times and asked friends to read it through and tell me if they thought I had forgotten anything.
Now I’ve been in Zhuhai for one and a half months and I am glad I didn’t bring more. In the underground market you can find whatever you need, to dress for whatever event; clothes, shoes, underwear, make-up, jewelry, nail polish, accessories… and much more. You can even go for a manicure and pedicure. For food, there are a lot of different restaurants, and if you dare you can get a tattoo. The best thing is, everything is so cheap. <3
So what’s the catch? Actually, there are quite a few catches. But the drawbacks depends on your body measurements etc. The worst catch I guess, is that most clothes they offer are all one size. If you are too tall you will have problems finding fitting clothes. Also often you are not allowed to try on the clothes you intend to purchase. You can only guess if they will fit and if they suit you well. Also having shoe size 40 (EU)/9 (US) or bigger as a woman it may be hard to find fitting shoes. A final catch is that you usually cannot pay by credit card in the underground or on the street market, cash is king.
The worst catch for me? Too much choice! I could spend days and hundreds of Euros in these shops. Last weekend I spent around three hours in the Zhuhai underground market – close to the Macau border. Because of my company I was forced to keep it to a minimum. I ended up with 5 new dresses, a pair of shoes, 2 trousers and just a bit less than 500 RMB poorer (58 EUR/80 USD). Yes, girls, already feeling the need to jump off your chair and come over?
In the end I will eventually have another problem, I guess… How will I ever be able to take all those clothes back home with me? Well, I did some thinking about that and my solution is: I will have to fly business class, as I’m allowed double the amount of luggage and having a comfortable seat on the plane. Sounds good to me. I could also just buy another suitcase, but … after saving so much money shopping here I think it is okay to spend some more on the flight. 😀
Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget to find yourself a suitable shopping mate. Nothing is better than spending a day in the underground together: clothes hunting, bargaining with broken Chinese-English, giggling about strange people and gossiping, sipping coffee, eating sushi, going for manicures or pedicures (or both), and afterwards going to the Spa to relax from the exhausting day to feel fresh again. Ready to enjoy the nightlife in your new clothes.
I think I need to go shopping again next weekend. Writing this blog made me hungry for more…
See you and 再见，
Gianna aka Gini aka 吉娜
Last Sunday, the interns of Qingdao gathered together and enjoyed a trip to the “Old Town”. At first, we made a stop at a Muslim restaurant to gain some energy and got to know the taste of fresh made noodles.
After finishing our lunch we reached the Jimo Lu Market by taxi. Jimo Lu is the primary bargain market in Qingdao, which is located on Liao Cheng Road. They bargain a large selection of clothing, footwear, watches, bags, jewelry, suitcases, shirts, decoration and toys. We split up in two groups. Understandable, because the girls will take much longer to go shopping. 😉
Taking care of everyone, we managed to meet after an hour to walk up the road to the St. Michaels Cathedral, also called Zhejiang Road Catholic Church.
This Cathedral is located in the oldest part of Qingdao and is a product of a strong German presence in Shandong Province in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
After taking some pictures we went on to the Food Street and some of our interns were brave enough to eat some special “Crisps”. 🙂
Marching on to the arcade we took a short stop at an empty looking indoor city, which seemed like a city of an amusement park during the winter season.
Getting in the mood, we paid our last visit to an amusement arcade playing all kind of funny games and watching Chinese people dancing to Korean songs.
Can’t wait to do it again!
Apply now for an internship! Join me and the other interns trying local delicacies.
What I want to write today about is the art of bargaining. In my last blog about Shanghai I told you about those huge fake markets and that you can get great stuff for a cheap price. Ultimately it ain’t that easy. To get a good quality of whatever you want to get to a good price you first need to have an eye for the good quality. But second and most importantly you will need to master the art of bargaining.
Of course you can use your bargaining tactics only with independent traders in China. On the one side these independent traders are open to bargaining which is good for you. On the other side they want to use it to their own advantage so you better never believe their first offer. These Chinese believe in what they call “The Myth of the Rich LaoWai”. It means that in their mind every foreigner that comes to them to buy something is a rich guy that they will try to get the most money from. So what can you do about that?
Don’t feel guilty!
First you need to get your mindset clear. People who bargain for the first time often feel some form of guilt inside of them. They think they do something wrong. Throw that feeling away and be ruthless and shameless instead. Remember – They will not sell to you unless they are also making profit!
Have a mental maximum price before you start to bargain and don’t push over this limit. There are plenty of stalls selling exactly the same items so if you don’t get your price in the first one… move on and try the next! In your mind you have to be clear that this is just a game for both parties involved, if the seller becomes ‘angry’ or ‘sad’ just play along.. its all part of the game! Even if you totally fall in love with the shoes or coat you just saw, do not express too much interest and point out to the flaws of the item. If there are no flaws, make some up. If you act and think in this way you have the mental edge and have already won.
The Basic Bargaining Process
After a few times of bargaining with those sellers there is a certain routine you will evolve. Basically a lot of those bargaining processes boil down the same things and there are certain patterns you can use:
When they tell you the first price you should act shocked. I pretend that I have never heard something so ridiculous before. Sometimes I will just unscrupulously laugh at them.
Then you should wait… don’t make an offer just yet, wait and they will make another offer. For this you will give them more of the same open mouthed, gasping expressions!
After you have regained your pokerface make your first VERY low counter offer. At this point the seller will act just as shocked as you and tell you this is below his buying price. Don’t believe it – it is just a trick.
If you negotiate hard now you will usually come closer and closer to your estimated price.
If not, you still have one more ace in the hole – the walkaway! You will totally resolute turn around and walk away (slowly) from the stall and in a lot of cases they will scream for you, they will run after you shouting ‘ok, ok’ grabbing for you, they will basically do anything to keep you there. And in the end they go down to your price. You win… and so do they.
So go to those markets and learn the art of bargaining. And remember – it is just a game.
Last weekend I decided to explore the city of Guangzhou. The city is beautiful and bustling with life – there was almost too much to do in the short amount of time I was there. I managed to visit two museums, two parks, the Canton Tower, and get some shopping done. The plan was to go clubbing in the evening, but after all that walking around and excitement, we decided it would be best to have a relaxing evening and just go to the cinema instead.
Les Misérables received quite a few Oscar nominations, so we decided that would be a safe bet to go see. What I thought would be a chill cinema trip turned into one of the biggest cultural experiences I’ve had since I arrived in China last month.
Let me start by saying, where I come from, having your phone on in the cinema is practically a sin. Just looking at your phone during the movie and casting that little light will get you mad haters in the cinema – so nobody dares do that. During this cinema experience however, the Chinese simply let their phone ring during the movie. Oh but it doesn’t end there, they also pick up the phone and start talking! I thought the first person that did it was either rude or just didn’t have a clue, but this happened six more times during the duration of the film. I was super confused.
Secondly, usually if anyone dares whisper to their friends during the film, you’ll hear people shush you from all corners of the cinema. However, even though Les Mis was not the most interesting or action packed movie, when the Chinese found it boring they would simply turn over and start talking to their friend, in full volume. Again, this happened multiple times throughout the movie. Towards the end when there was a lot of singing scenes (which really did drag on) it felt like the whole cinema just gave up on the movie and decided to make it a social event and went in full conversation.
At one point, the guy in front of me decided he’d had enough, so he whipped out his iPad and started playing on it. I have to be honest, I really didn’t find the movie very good (I prefer to the older rendition of Les Mis) but the Chinese were very verbal about their dislike for the film as well; as soon as it finished one woman yelled out “thank god!” – which I found pretty funny because I was thinking the same thing.
Apparently, this does not only happen in Chinese cinemas, but also the theatres. In olden days China, theatres used to be a social event in which you sat at a table with a group of friends; played cards, ate snacks, and occasionally brought your birds along with you (sometimes you can actually see the elder people walking around town with their caged birds). Knowing this now makes that episode make so much more sense, but at the time I had no idea what was going on!