The Nanjing Xi Lu fake market in Shanghai known as Han City closed its doors in July of 2016, likely the result of increasing regulation of the retail industry in the city. The four-story market, formerly known as the Fengshine Market but also by the nickname Tao Bao City, sold an array of Chinese souvenirs, and handbags, luggage, watches, shoes, clothes, sports jerseys, electronics, toys, and gifts ranging from high-quality knockoffs to cheap counterfeits. Foreigners especially combed the rows and rows of stalls in search of cheap pirated DVDs, fake Gucci bags, and imitation Rolex watches.
Other Shopping Options
For the widest selection of cheap goods in the city, you should now head to the Yatai Xinyang Fashion and Gift Market, an underground mall at the Science & Technology Museum subway stop (Shanghai Metro Line 2, stop: 科技馆 | Science and Technology Museum).
Visit Qipu Lu, which translates to "Cheap Street," for the widest knockoff selection of sportswear and women's fashion brands.
Remember to bargain, an accepted and even expected practice in Shanghai's markets. Decide on your maximum price for an item ahead of time and stick to it. Multiple vendors carry the same products, and one may be more flexible to secure a sale. Keep your negotiations good-natured and fair, and it should be a positive experience for everyone involved.
Fake Market Dangers
The folks selling products at these markets tout them as "real" or "A quality." However, many fake products rip off international brands with cheaply produced imitations that often pose health and safety or environmental risks. Be careful with consumer electronics; buying something that looks like an iPhone charger for pennies at one of these markets can result in damage to your phone. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals can lead to illness and even death; even cheaply produced clothing and personal care items such as hairdryers can be dangerous, causing skin irritations, catching on fire, and otherwise malfunctioning.
Fake Market Ethics and Legal Implications
Knockoffs copy an established brand's product but do not falsely advertise with that brand's logo or label. For example, the Adidas Yeezy Boost, a sneaker developed in collaboration with Kanye West, quickly reached icon status upon its release in 2015. A knockoff would attempt to imitate the style of the sneaker but would not try to market it as a Yeezy. A counterfeit, however, would display the Yeezy name and logo, attempting to pass it off as an authentic product. Some counterfeits look enough like the real thing to make it difficult for someone with an untrained eye to spot the fake.
A widely accepted general rule of thumb to remember when purchasing branded goods overseas: A deal that seems "too good to be true," usually is.
While someone could argue that purchasing knockoffs hurts legitimate companies, no laws prevent you from buying or possessing them for your personal use. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents may seize counterfeits goods from your luggage, and you could face civil or even criminal penalties for transporting them across the border.