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The Underground Market at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

 

Writer

Dennis Ming Nichols

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Lifestyle, Fashion & Shopping

When you walk out of the Metro station at Pudong's Science and Technology Museum (line 2) and into the underground mall next door, you are greeted by cold fluorescent lights and shopkeepers hounding you to come check out their tiny stores. This place is known as the “SciTech Fake Market” by the laowai and has all your basic “fake market” staples like knockoff shoes (UGGS, Converse and Vans galore, don't pay more than 60RMB), polo shirts, watches, bags, and DVDs that either “fell of the truck” or are counterfeit. But what makes SciTech stand out from other underground markets is it's one of the best places to buy inexpensive touristy gifts, cheap toys, winter clothing, and luggage. Yet another thing that stands out is that it seems to be one of the easiest places to bargain.
 


Tourist Gifts
Are you a tourist looking to buy a boatload of gifts for your friends and family back home? You could probably save a lot of money by coming to SciTech rather than the areas frequented by tourists. The gift stores here have most of the same gifts you'd find on Nanjing Road or Old Shanghai including playing cards, qipaos (buy them for children, don't bother with adult sizes as they are cheaply made and don't last long), those Chinese opera mask bottle openers, Mao memorabilia, Asian tablecloths and table runners, whatever cute plastic thing that was stolen from Japan and Korea, etc, ad nauseum. The only popular souvenirs I couldn't find here were propaganda posters and antiques. For posters, I would suggest bargaining (less than 20RMB is good) at some shops in Old Shanghai (they seem to be concentrated just inside the west gate around Renmin Road). For antiques, I suggest the antique market on Dongtai Road, just south of HuaiHai Zhong Road.



Cheap Toys
Visiting SciTech is like visiting the toy section of a department store. It doesn't have everything, but it has the basics and you can bargain down for genuine Legos, the cheaper Chinese version of Legos, Barbie Dolls, Sesame Street junk, toy helicopters, action figures, and more. Randomly, I bought a tiny piano keyboard that also speaks animal names in Chinese (asking price 100RMB, bought at 40RMB). Once I'm done playing with it, I'll give it to my nieces. There are at least 5 toy/game shops in the market and these items can also be found at some stores that don't specialize in toys.

Winter Clothing
The year-round availability of winter clothes at this market rivals that of the Hongqiao International Pearl City ( 3721 Hongmei Lu , near Yan'an Xi Lu). Here you can find name-brand and name-brand knock offs (LLBean, Columbia, Gore-tex) for 200RMB and up.

Luggage
I counted at least 6 luggage stores and they all sell similar products. We are not talking super-high quality stuff, but they will get you out of the country a few times. Many of the stores are geared towards women judging by the colorful prints most of the luggage have. But some basic black and browns are available in many different sizes. Most of these are name-brand knock-offs and start at around 40RMB.



Other unique findings
I found a cute store that sells storage trunks and decorative storage containers. There's also a bookstore that sells English titles, but they are strictly sold at list price. Any counterfeit iPod/iPhone accessories can be found here. There is at least one store that sells pocket knives, binoculars, telescopes, brass knuckles and weird multi-tools. Finally, a carpet store in the rear sells luxury carpets and rugs from (I presume) India and a couple of tailors are near the entrance.

FYI: I apologize, my camera died so I have very few good pictures. If you have better ones, please send them to nichols.shanghai@gmail.com.


 

 

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