Muschamp Rd

Shopping in Beijing

October 7th, 2005

The other day, Tian Ming and I went shopping. Tian Ming is my official Tsinghua School of Economics and Management MBA conversation partner. Now I’m not much of a shopper, but we wanted to do something besides just sit and eat. Especially considering how poor my Chinese is.

We met up at 10am and took the subway to Yong An Li station and went to the Silk Street Market. This is where all the middle age foreign tourists go to buy their souveniers. From silk scarfs to knock off brand name goods if it is a popular souvenier you can buy it at Silk Street. Not all shoppers are foreigners though, in fact the majority are probably Chinese. I think the Chinese get offered better prices too.

I didn’t buy anything. I’m not much of a shopper and it is too early for me to be buying souveniers for friends and family. We did have coffee at Starbucks, well tea actually. I learned a few Chinese phrases. We decided to push on to Xi Dan station to eat lunch. Although it was supposedly a business district, it was actually more packed than the Silk Street Market. The crowd was noticeably younger. 77th Street Market being the big draw. We checked it out after lunch at Ma La You Huo. The entire market seems geared towards teenagers or at least really young Chinese women. Apparently it is often featured in fashion magazines and sure enough their was a fashion show going on while we were there. This was a bit more interesting but still not a place I’m likely to buy something.

Silk Street Market building

We decided to go somewhere I could buy some computer speakers and a mouse. It took a while on a very crowded bus but we ended up at Ke Mao Dian Zi Cheng. This was a huge building bursting with computer stuff. It had floor after floor and booth after booth of computer parts and accessories. There were several more just like it in the immediate vicinity and employees were unsure even how many floors were open for shopping.

I didn’t bring very much cash and I was kinda beat and under the weather so we didn’t shop that long. I did look at many sets of computer speakers. I only started taking pictures of the displays about half way through. We easily looked at twice as many. Eventually I bought a set of aigo speakers. It is the usual two small satelite speakers with one larger subwoofer set up.

Tian Ming and I had discussions on just what is a famous brand. Apparently aigo is a famous Chinese brand, that is one of the reasons I bought it. The main reason is I could see and feel the drivers on all three speakers. Although I was tempted to buy some really exotic looking speakers I was just going to give them away in a few months so I didn’t want to spend too much. I got my speakers for 150 RMB. The initial asking price was 190 but Tian Ming was able to get them to lower it.

The mouse I actually bought before the speakers. There was no haggling involved. I simply bought the exact same mouse I already had, though in a different color. Now I can leave one at home and carry one with me in my bag.

77th Street Market Entrance

I’ve actually bought four sets of computer speakers in under two years. It gets worse than that. I actually own a full set of Paradigm speakers which I had previously connected to my PowerMac as well as the rest of my home audio/theater equipment. I had dubbed the whole set up The Deathstar. I want to have it say “Witness the power of my fully functional Deathstar” in a really deep voice when it started up.

Now all that stuff is at my mom’s house, most of it is in boxes or sitting on shelves. But eventually I got it out of storage and even moved it to Calgary where I still run some of the same speakers I bought back in 1996. The electronics and TV have been updated but I still use a Thorens turntable from the 70s.

I used to participate in a lot of forums including two popular threads in the Macintoshian Achaia over at Arstechnica again. Alas the threads are gone or at least moved. This is why you put your content on your domain. It costs more to care.

Fashion Show at 77th Street Mall
Computer Speakers
More Computer Speakers
Yet more computer speakers
Even more computer speakers
The winning set of speakers
My powerbook and my new set of speakers

If you have thoughts on shopping in Beijing, Chinese electronics versus Canadian (at least designed) electronics versus precision Swiss engineering you can leave a comment below. I’ve been updating almost twenty year old blog posts and digging out more higher resolution photos for the good of the Internet. I probably have the higher resolution versions of all these photos but I’m not uploading them to the Internet in 2024.

So many URLs no longer work, checking them all by hand is not something I will be doing, but I am checking and removing some of the busted links.


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