Shopping in China: Discounts

Shopping in China: Discounts

If you’ve been shopping in China, these should look familiar to you.

Yet, for anyone who grew up outside of China, these signs can be extremely counter-intuitive. Exactly how much discounts are you receiving? There is no % sign to be found anywhere! Does 8折 actually mean 80% off?

Do not be deceived – 8折 actually means a 20% discount. A nifty way of wrapping your head around this is to tell yourself that if you see 8折, it means you’re paying 80% of the original price – instead of receiving an 80% discount. If you think about it in this way, it might seem a bit more straightforward. Retailers are now telling you upfront that you pay xx%, rather than making you calculate how much of a discount you get. It might take some getting used to, but it’s not as confusing as it first seems.

Now let’s take it one step further. What happens when you see the word “起” like below?


From what we’ve learnt, 4折 means a 60% discount. That would mean 4折起 is Up to 60% off, not Up to 40%!

One last tip: The verb for giving discounts in Mandarin is “打折” (dǎzhé). Try asking,“ 打折吗?” when you’re out shopping to find out if there are available discounts.

We hope that this has helped you shop smart while in Chinese cities. Comment down below if there are any other things about shopping in China that utterly confuses you!

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