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Chinese Culture >> Asian Culture

How to Bargain in Asia

Hi, I'm Jayden, a Chinese Language expert. I'm a Chinese who received Chinese education since young. I've been in overseas for years, and I've lots of foreign friends in Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Europe wanting me to teach them English, so I did.
The first question my students always ask me would be "Is Chinese hard to learn? I would say 'YES, if you use the wrong method!', so, for me, Chinese isn't hard to learn at all, It's just like when you first watch a magic trick, it's amazing! But when you know the secret about it, you will master it in the shortest period.

So, how do you bargain when you travel in Asia?

I found out a lot of European or U.S visitors who visited Asia find it real hard to adapt to one of the cultural here, which is to bargain! Second, Asia itself has a lot of languages, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Thai, Viet, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia Languages. It's very difficult for a non asian to do bargain here because

1. You don't have the habit to bargain.

2. You don't know how much you should bargain.

3. You don't know the cultural here when you should bargain and till what limit you should bargain.

4. You don't speak the local dialect here and they don't understand you! You both will end up using calculator saying 'Yes Yes, No No, Cheaper Cheaper!'.

As because most of the countries that you visited in Asia would be Chinese, or at least do understand Chinese, and most of the places that you need to bargain are Chinese area! Don't say Chinese are mean, they are just too good in doing business, besides they know they'll hardly see you the 2nd time because you are just a visitor, a tourist.

I've already listed some Chinese language in bargaining that you can check at the resource box later, learn some basic language about bargaining part.

If you can speak some good Chinese, the price they quote you would be cheaper, and you can even do bargaining with them. Why? Simply because they thought u work for the Embassy, or you work there, and they know there's a potential you would be coming back or bring your friends there when they visited China or others.

So, What are the step to do bargaining with them. Here it is.

Step 1 - Find what you want. Don't bargain if you don't plan to buy.

So, the only place that you can do bargain, are mostly at flea market, stalls lining up the whole street that sells maybe piracy, memorable goods. Remember, Don't bargain if you don't want to buy! Don't bargain at any restaurant or air conditioned shop where they put "nett Price", or "fixed price" sign. If you found something you like, remember, there's definitely the same thing down the street, don't rush buying it. Bargain first!

This is how it goes, let's say if you find a dress that you like. Point at it and say...

You :"How Much?" You :"Duo1 Shao3 Qian2?"

The seller will answer in either English or Chinese, go to the resource box later and find under Price & Number and Shopping.

Now when you understand how much they offer, you need to ask yourself how much do you think this is worth, usually if they say $100, you'll say, "$25!" Which means start with 25% of what he offered.

There will be only 2 situations he'll response, First, he would say no, and ask for a higher price. Second, he would say no, and ignore you.

If it's the first situation, you know he can easily sell for $25, but he just wan to get the most out from you, in that case, walk away, and he might ask you to go back and sell you the dress. If you walk away and he never ask you to go back, means $25 is really too low for them and they would rather keep it.

Step 2 - Identify the best price you can offer. Ok, so 25% of what he offered isn't the right price for them, don't worry, as long it's a bargaining area, there will always have the same item down the street. Don't rush! So when you find the same item at the 2nd stall, do Step 1, ask again.

This time, ignore what the price that seller is going to give you, it could be up to $200! Maybe you can raise from the previous $25 to $40. Get the response from the seller, and see what you can do about it.

Remember, when you walk away, as long as they ask you to go back, 80% of the chances you get to buy the stuff at $40, unless you don't mind to buy at $50. Well, this is the easiest way to bargain.

Lastly, I wish you all the best in Learning Chinese.

About the Author

Jayden Yap is one of a very influential Chinese Language Expert. Most of the time he would travel around the globe sharing everything about Chinese cultural, Chinese language.

He lists all of his free lessons & articles at :