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China – Retail and Consumer Issues

China is a vast country with a rapidly growing retail industry, offering a wide range of products to both local consumers and visitors. In this article, we will discuss retail and consumer issues in China, including typical opening hours of shops, forms of payment, major supermarkets, online shopping, shops for expats, and consumer rights.

Typical Opening Hours of Shops in China

In China, most shops are open seven days a week. Generally, the opening hours of shops in China are from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, but some shops may close earlier or later depending on their location and business model. In big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, shopping malls and supermarkets may stay open until midnight.

Forms of Payment in China

Cash is still commonly used in China, but many shops now accept electronic payments, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. These two mobile payment platforms are widely used in China, with WeChat Pay and Alipay accounting for over 90% of the mobile payment market. Credit cards are also accepted in some shops, but they are not as widely used as in some other countries.

Major Supermarkets in China

China has many large supermarket chains, including Carrefour, Walmart, Metro, Auchan, and RT-Mart. These supermarkets offer a wide range of products, including food, household items, electronics, and clothing. The prices of these supermarkets are generally lower than in smaller local stores, and there are often discounts for bulk purchases.

Carrefour is a French multinational retail chain, with over 200 stores in China. It is known for its affordable prices and wide variety of products, including food, clothing, and electronics. Walmart is another major player in the Chinese retail market, with over 400 stores in China. It is known for its low prices and customer-friendly policies. Metro is a German multinational retail chain that specializes in wholesale business, catering to both individual customers and businesses. Auchan and RT-Mart are two other large supermarket chains in China, with over 300 stores each.

Online Shopping in China

Online shopping is very popular in China, with over 900 million people using online shopping platforms. The two main online shopping platforms in China are Taobao and Tmall, both owned by Alibaba Group. Taobao is an online marketplace where individual sellers can sell their products directly to consumers, while Tmall is a platform for larger, well-established brands to sell their products. Other popular online shopping platforms in China include JD.com and Pinduoduo.


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Shops for Expats in China

There are several shops in China that cater specifically to expats, offering international products that may be difficult to find in local markets. Some popular options include:

  • Jenny Lou’s: This is a chain of supermarkets that caters to expats, offering a range of imported goods, including fresh produce, meats, and dairy products. There are several locations in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu.

  • April Gourmet: Another popular supermarket chain for expats in China, April Gourmet offers a range of imported products, including snacks, condiments, and cooking ingredients. There are several locations in Beijing and Shanghai.

  • City Shop: This supermarket chain offers imported products from around the world, including fresh produce, meats, and dairy products. There are several locations in Shanghai.

  • Olé: A Spanish-owned supermarket chain that offers a range of imported products, including fresh produce, meats, and dairy products. There are several locations in Shanghai.

  • Carrefour: A French hypermarket chain that offers a range of products, including imported goods. There are several locations throughout China.

  • Walmart: An American chain of supermarkets and hypermarkets that offers a range of products, including imported goods. There are several locations throughout China.

Consumer Rights in China

Consumers in China have a range of rights and protections under the country’s laws and regulations. These include:

  • The right to safety: Consumers have the right to expect that the products they purchase are safe and free from defects.

  • The right to information: Consumers have the right to receive accurate and truthful information about the products they purchase, including their quality, ingredients, and any potential risks or hazards.

  • The right to choose: Consumers have the right to choose from a range of products and services, and to make informed decisions about their purchases.

  • The right to fair pricing: Consumers have the right to expect that prices for goods and services are fair and transparent.

  • The right to protection: Consumers have the right to seek protection and compensation if they are harmed by a faulty or unsafe product.

There are several consumer organizations in China that work to protect the rights and interests of consumers. These include:

  • China Consumers Association: The China Consumers Association is a government-affiliated organization that works to protect the rights and interests of consumers in China. It provides information and advice on consumer issues, and advocates for stronger consumer protections.

  • China Consumers’ Association Online: This website provides information and advice on consumer issues in China, as well as a platform for consumers to report complaints and seek resolution to disputes.

  • Consumer Council of Hong Kong: The Consumer Council of Hong Kong is an independent organization that advocates for consumer rights and interests in Hong Kong. It provides information and advice on consumer issues, as well as mediation and dispute resolution services.

  • Shanghai Consumer Council: The Shanghai Consumer Council is a government-affiliated organization that works to protect the rights and interests of consumers in Shanghai. It provides information and advice on consumer issues, and advocates for stronger consumer protections.

  • Beijing Consumers’ Association: The Beijing Consumers’ Association is a non-governmental organization that works to protect the rights and interests of consumers in Beijing. It provides information and advice on consumer issues, as well as mediation and dispute resolution services.

Overall, consumers in China have a range of options for seeking information and assistance with consumer issues, and can expect to be protected by a range of laws and regulations.


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