“Fake Market”

Before coming to China I had heard about the fake market in vague detail. There was a place where you could go purchase goods for discounted prices. You could get things that would elsewhere cost three or four times more. When I arrived in China I heard more of the same thing from my peers at Fudan. This market intrigued me more as I learned more about it. There seemed to be something else besides the cheap prices that kept people going back – bartering. This seemed to be the key attraction to the fake markets. In my marketing placement class, this was something one of the groups presented on. People loved the thrill of bargaining for a low price. So the product, in turn, became a bargain that you, the buyer, felt proud about. As I looked back on my trips to the market, this definitely was the case. First, I went to the market looking for a good deal on shoes – I ended up buying this hat.




The reason I abandoned the shoes and went for the hat was the exact reason the market placement group had suggested most people do. When I approached the shoe stores, I had in mind how much I was willing to spend (around 100 kuai) on any given pair. As I was talking to the store owners, I realized that I was not going to reach the price I wanted. Many of them refused to go under 150 kuai. This frustrated as I had met friends who had gotten the same shoes for cheaper than that. In the shop owner’s unwillingness to go below a certain price, though, I saw another peiece of information I had heard upon coming to China come into play. Many store owners had quality items and were not willing to cave to consumer perceptions of their goods being “fake”. This was a part of the fake market that I had also come to learn influenced the fake market culture. However when I started looking at the hat, it was at a much higher price than I expected, but I got it down to 10 kuai, a price I was really proud about. Looking back, this was my motivation for the purchase and my motivation for continuing to return to the market after this specific visit. So instead of goods being the main takeaway from this experience at the fake market, I learned much about the interesting market place culture that made things work there.