Pin Me

Learn How to Shop in Chinese

written by: Sonal Panse • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 10/22/2012

China is a shopper’s paradise, and knowing some Chinese Mandarin may help you get some good bargains. Learn these Chinese phrases that are useful for shopping, download our vocabulary list for easy reference, and you’re ready to go!

  • slide 1 of 4

    Shopping in China

    If you happen to be visiting China, you will enjoy the great shopping opportunities there. China offers a wide assortment of local and international merchandise that can be purchased at roadside stalls, stores, boutiques, emporiums, shopping malls, supermarkets, and department stores. Many Chinese cities have specific market streets with each street featuring a particular type of goods. For example, one street may be lined with jewelry shops while another may have fashion boutiques and another electronics stores.

    Learning Chinese can be of immense help in making a purchase and bargaining to get a good deal. But, whether you happen to be visiting China or not, the Chinese Mandarin language will come in handy. China is fast becoming an economically powerful nation, and proficiency in Chinese Mandarin may very well prove to be a career booster for you in the near future.

    Here are some popular things that people visiting China like to buy:

    • Tea
    • Silk carpets
    • Silk purses
    • Silk coats
    • Scroll paintings
    • Thangka paintings
    • Pearls
    • Jade figurines

    A couple of things about shopping in China:

    • Chinese currency is called Ren Min Bi (RNB). The monetary unit is Yuan (also called kuai), and the fractional units are Jiao (also called Mao) and Fen.
    • If you buy a Chinese antique, it must have an official certificate to show that it can be legally taken out of the country. It will help to keep all purchase receipts and details to show if necessary.
    • You must be aware of the import rules and regulations of your country. Otherwise you may not be allowed to take home what you have bought.
  • slide 2 of 4

    Here are some things to keep in mind when you learn Mandarin Chinese:

    • Chinese is a tonal language. There are four tones---high, rising high, low and rising, high and falling---and one neutral tone. Change the tone and you change the meaning entirely. Learning tones can be a bit tricky and needs regular practice.
    • Chinese written in romanized letters is known as pinyin.
    • The Chinese language does not require verb conjugation.

    Now we'll take a look at some Chinese phrases on the topic of shopping:

    • I am going shopping - Wŏ qù mǎi dongxi
    • I like to shop - Dì èr kè gòu wù
    • I’m just looking - Wŏ zhe shì suí biàn kànkan
    • Where can I get... ? - ...zài nar mǎi
    • I want to buy... - Wŏ xiang mǎi...
    • I need... - Wŏ yào ...
    • I’m looking for... - Wŏ yào zhuo...
    • I am buying a skirt - Wŏ zài mǎi yi qún zi
    • I am buying trousers - Wŏ zài mǎi kù zi
    • Please show me it - Zhè ge gei wŏ kànkan.
    • How much is this? - Zhè ge duō shao qián?
    • How much for one? - Yí ge duō shao qián?
    • How much in all? - Yí gòng duō shao qián?
    • Can you give me a discount? - Zài da dianr zhè kou
    • I'll take this - Qing gei wŏ zhè ge
    • I'll take it - Yào
    • I don't want it - Bu yào nei ge
    • Do you need something else? - Nín hái yào shénme
    • Please give me the receipt - Qing gei wŏ kai zhang fa piao
  • slide 3 of 4

    Chinese Shopping Vocabulary

    Shops:

    • Bakery - Miàn bao diàn
    • Bookstore - Shū diàn
    • Clothing store - Fú shì diàn
    • Department store - Bai huò gong se
    • Grocery store - Zá huò diàn
    • Jewelry store - Yín lóu
    • Stationery shop - Wén jù diàn
    • Store - Diàn

    Some Items to Buy:

    • Apple - Píng guŏ
    • Ball - Qiύ
    • Banana - Xiāng jiāo
    • Bicycle - Xíng chē
    • Book - Shū
    • Bowl - Wăn
    • Bread - Miàn bāo
    • Cellphone - Shŏu jī
    • Coat - Dà yī
    • Computer - Diàn năo
    • Cup - Bēi zi
    • Eggs - Jī dàn
    • Fish - Tiáo yú
    • Flowers - Huā shì
    • Frock - Lián yī qún
    • Fruit - Shuǐ guǒ
    • Hat - Mào zi
    • Jade -
    • Jeans -
    • Magazine - Zázhì
    • Milk - Niú năi
    • Newspaper - Bào zhĭ
    • Notebook - Běnzi
    • Pearls - Zhēn zhū
    • Pen - Qiān Bĭ
    • Plate - Pán zi
    • Radio - Shōu yīn jī
    • Sandwiches - Sān míng zhì
    • Shirt - Chèn shān
    • Shoes - Xié zi
    • Silk - Sichou
    • Skirt - Tiáo qún zi
    • Socks - Wà zi
    • Sweater - Máo yī
    • T-shirt - T-xù shān
    • Tea - Chá
    • Tie - Tiáo lǐng dài
    • Toilet paper - Wèi shēng zhǐ
    • Trousers - Kù zi
    • Underwear - Nèi kù

    You can download the phrases and vocabulary in this article from Learn Chinese - Chinese Mandarin Vocabulary and Phrases - Going Shopping.