Sunday, 24 January 2010

Guangzhou, China

We did a quick trip recently to spend 2 days and 1 night in Guangzhou in mainland China which is less than 2 hours by train from Hong Kong and conveniently for us, the train leaves from Hung Hum where we live.

Apparently it has more assembly lines, mass production and factories per metre squared than any other city in the world.  Despite all that, there are sights and activities to make a visit worthwhile. 

The big activity is shopping and there are different areas of the city carved out for different products, most of which are fake.

We visited Watchtown which was 4 square blocks of watch shops selling every fake brand you can think of.

Then there was Bagtown where incredibly high quality fake designer brands sell for a fraction of the real thing.

Toytown where everything from simple dolls to electronics were on offer.

There were huge amounts of international casual tourist shoppers as well as wholesale buyers who were buying trolley loads of merchandise and had hired a local to push the trolley around.

If shopping is not your thing then there are plenty of impressive temples including the temple of the Six Banyan Trees built almost 1,500 years ago and a couple of interesting museums.

Shamian Island south of the centre is a good place to base yourself as it has a old colonial feel to it. More pics below.

Tags: ..Guangzhou, China..

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Dave -nibbleanibble January 25, 2010 2:23 am  

Guangzhou is definitely worth a visit for those planning to visit mainland China.

Thriftcriminal January 25, 2010 3:36 am  

Looks good, must add it to the ever growing list of places to visit. And it'll be an even shorter trip when they build that new fast rail link with a huge underground station under Kowloon costing billions then?

NicoleB January 25, 2010 4:40 am  

Sweet goodness - what an awesome place.
Despite the loads of people, I would love to see that one!

Quickroute January 25, 2010 5:53 am  

@ Dave-nibbleanibble: It's got mainland flavour written all over it

@ Thrifty: yep - if they manage to build it - they got initial approval but more injunctions pending

@ Nicole: it choc a bloc but plenty of camera fodder for you I'd wager

nick January 25, 2010 6:05 am  

So how do they get away with selling so many fakes? Do the Chinese authorities or the genuine manufacturers not bother to take any action?

Quickroute January 25, 2010 8:51 am  

@ Nick: Despite a lot of lip service tto the contrary - the local Authorities turn a blind eye except for taking their cut in taxes and kick backs of course

Baino January 25, 2010 6:06 pm  

Hmmm many of those 'fakes' find their way down here. There's a big blitz on catching the perpetrators at the moment. Shamian Island looks lovle, and you'll be able to enjoy all the fun of Chinese New Year!

TCL January 25, 2010 7:13 pm  

Plenty of fakes here on Canal Street in Chinatown

Quickroute January 25, 2010 8:23 pm  

@ Baino: I wonder if people just bring suitcases of them or how do they get thru customs?

@ TCL: I'm sure they come straight from here - man you are getting around

wandermom January 26, 2010 2:08 am  

This is too funny: I just had dinner with a friend here who is a knitwear designer. She's been working with factories in Guangzhou since 1990. She had us rolling around laughing telling tales of how business really works in this part of China: english-speaking business owner connects with US/UK business; keeps "factory" to show visitors from Nordstrom, Gap + M+S; really has less salubrious factories where the work is actually done - which are owned by local Communist party official + rented to "entrepreneur". And Murphy adds in that all these unknown cities (in Guangzhou have populations 2x Ireland!!)

alexhofford January 26, 2010 4:59 pm  

Just posted my China Factory Series photos here:-

Nintendo DS, TV Remote Control, Electronic Calculator. Many more familiar consumer products to come in the following days...

Quickroute January 26, 2010 11:21 pm  

@ Alex: I checked out your site - very impressive indeed

Stevo January 28, 2010 9:36 pm  

Hey Paddy:

The last two photos of the Chen Family Academy are great - one of my fave place in GZ.

Did you get to the Guangxiao Si temple - a stone's throw from the Six Banyan Trees? Amazing place as well.

Quickroute January 28, 2010 9:53 pm  

@ Stevo: thnx - yeah we went there too very impressive although we were getting temple fatigue by then ;-)

Quickroute January 28, 2010 9:55 pm  

@ Wandermon: Yeeah the business is pretty cut throat - not surprised to see hardened middle eastern hagglers are in plentiful supply

Stevo January 29, 2010 7:02 am  

Paddy: A common malady.

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