What To Buy In Guangzhou, China

what to buy in guangzhou
| 5 min read

Every spring and autumn, business people and tourists visit Guangzhou, China, for the Canton Fair. It is one of the biggest and the most comprehensive trade fairs in China frequented by thousands of people. The exhibition area covers about 118 hectares of space and they sell a huge variety of textiles, electronics, household appliances, vehicles, consumer goods and building materials. It’s a shopping paradise for those who love to buy all sorts of stuff. If you can’t be at the fair, there are several shopping areas that you can go to for the local goods and the cheap buys, too. Here are our suggestions for what to buy in Guangzhou, China.

1. Guangdong embroidery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Revel in the vibrant patterns and gorgeous colors of Guangdong embroidery. They come in four varieties, namely purl embroidery, woolen embroidery, plain thread embroidery and pearl embroidery. The embroidered products include ornaments, stage costumes and garments. While there are other embroidered products in China such as the Hunan Embroidery, Sichuan and Jiangsu, Guangdong is the most popular. In fact, the embroidered products are exported to more than 50 countries, including the US and Europe. Guangzhou is one of the good places to buy Guangdong embroidered souvenirs.

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2. Jade sculpture

Dushan jade
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Artfiber used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Be mesmerized by this highly prized Chinese art made with an ornamental stone called Jade or “yu” in Chinese. Highly recognized in goldsmithing art during the prehistoric ages, the Chinese believed that the stone represents immortality, beauty and purity. Today, jade is used in a variety of jewelry arts and is very popular in China. Although they don’t glitter like gold, you sure won’t be able to resist its beauty. They will make great souvenirs and are a good addition to your homes. Make sure you get at least one of them during your visit to China. Try to visit Hualin Jadeware Street - they sell wholesale and retail jewelry items made with a jade stone.

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3. Consumer electronics

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User:Vmenkov used under CC BY-SA 3.0

When it comes to consumer electronics, China sells the cheapest. Local retailers sell different types of consumer electronics such as smartphones, headphones, speakers, etc. You will never run out of things to buy in the Guangzhou area! The only downside is not all of these electronics are of high-quality. You need to really test them if they actually work. Some of them are actually good - you just have to know where to buy the best products. Tianhe Gangding has the latest computer gadgets. It offers good products at reasonable prices. If you don’t mind buying second-hand electronics, visit Yuexiu Dashatou Electronic Market.

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4. Household products

Traditional Chinese porcelain plates
Source: Unsplash

Several stores in Guangzhou sell household products at reasonable prices. When you go to the Shangxiajiu area, you’ll find hundreds of shops and a lot of department stores selling different household products and also street snacks. If you want to go sightseeing while shopping, try the Zhujiang New Town area, where there is an observatory, restaurants and shopping areas. You can also go night shopping until 11:30 pm and enjoy bargained prices. China Plaza, a nine-story shopping venue also has a supermarket with lots of household products and a furniture store that sells both local and branded products.

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5. Tonic foods and dried seafood

Dried fish
Source: Unsplash

Dry seafood is often one of the ingredients included in some Chinese dishes. At Guangzhou, you’ll find a lot of them not just at the seafood shops, but at Chinese medicine shops as well. Visit Yide Lu Dry Seafood Market, where the dried seafood is sold at retail and wholesale prices. It’s the best place to go to especially if you want to buy it in bulk. A few other places include Zhixin Seafood, Fujin Seafood Company, Tangji Seafood and Nanyue Grocery Wholesale Market.

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6. Cantonese embroidery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

To make Cantonese embroidery, you will need some gold and silver thread, pure silk and gold velvet. This popular art form is one of the Chinese’s embroidery styles that goes back to the late Ming and Qing dynasties. They used to be luxuries in the royal homes and was designated as a cultural heritage product. Today, this type of embroidery is popular amongst the Chinese expat communities. Cantonese embroidery is known for its vivid patterns and bright colors. You can get this at the Haizhu District in Guangzhou.

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7. Tea

Herbal Tea of various kinds
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Map cla1401 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Different varieties of tea are available in Guangzhou, China. You have the bitter tea, flower tea, Tie Guan Yin - mostly at very affordable prices. Nanfang Tea Market (or, Fangcun Tea Market) alone has over 300 shops that offer almost all types of tea. Whether they are compressed tea or teas with the whole leaves on them, it’s all available at Guangzhou. Do ask the staff whether you can sample the tea to help you decide which ones to purchase. Try to bargain for the best price, especially if you’re buying wholesale.

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8. Agricultural products

Yangzhou - supermarket - woju - P1070028
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vmenkov used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Guangzhou is one of the few places where you can get agricultural products in China. Qingping Market, situated just between Tiyun street and Qingping street, sells agricultural products including herbal medicines. They have over 1000 booths selling different varieties of eggs, dried fruits, fishes, vegetables and meat. Their products don’t only come from Guangzhou, but from the other provinces and cities in China.

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9. Cantonese sculpture

Cantonese Sculpture
Source: Pxfuel

Cantonese sculptures are popular in the Guangzhou area. They even have their own Guangzhou Sculpture Park featuring different types of sculptures, including a Cantonese sculpture. There are also sculpture suppliers in the area that sell high-end Cantonese sculptures and you can even customize them. Try the Guangzhou Shituo Sculpture Arts and Crafts at the Nansha District. They have a team dedicated to producing high-end decorative sculptures and other artistic sculptures made with stones, glass, bronze and other materials.

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10. Wood carving

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you love collecting, visit the Tianhe District and Baiyun District in Guangzhou and buy some wood carving furniture and architectural decoration. It is a popular art and one of the traditional carvings in the Guangzhou region. The art started during the Tang and Ming dynasties and it’s been developed and innovated year after year. Furniture carvings are made with timber trunks and rosewood fitments. They are also very popular in Guangzhou. Small artworks are also available in the area.

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Buy in wholesale

Businessmen who visit Guangzhou, China, usually buy goods in bulk as they can save more money. Also, they can do bargaining when they buy a good number of different products. The more you buy, the bigger discount you can get. Tourists who prefer buying high-end clothes and don’t really mind paying higher prices for them may visit the shopping districts such as Tianhui Square and Gaode Zhidi Square. If you miss buying stuff at the shops in Guangzhou, they are also available at the airport, but prices may be a little higher. Do make sure you plan your trip accordingly so you get all the things that you need in the city.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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