By ChinaTechNews.com Editorial Team
So you are arriving for the glorious Olympics in China, factory of the world's electronics, and you want to take a bit of this technology home with you? We've compiled a list of some of the interesting tech gadgets you must buy in China.
When shopping for electronics in China with the purpose of taking them back home overseas, the price, warranty and service provided is very important. Apple has a great worldwide warranty on their products, but you'll find the price for Apple gear in China is 10-20% more expensive than what you will find in other parts of Asia, in North America, or Europe. It's better to ignore Apple in China and instead buy their products when you go home. And on the flip side, while buying a cute Asus laptop that has been pre-loaded with pirated Windows XP might only cost you a few hundred U.S. dollars in China, what's going to happen if it breaks when you get home to Stockholm and find few Asus dealers ready to fix your product?
If you are adventurous and do plan to buy something larger than a gadget and smaller than a car, also be aware of where the item was originally manufactured. Some Chinese shopkeepers sell two versions of the same Japanese product: one camera might be from a Chinese factory and the other seemingly-identical camera comes from a factory in Japan. The difference? The price of the Japanese-made camera will be a little higher, it will come without a warranty, but the shopkeeper will tell you "the quality is better" than the Chinese-made Japanese camera that is cheaper and has a warranty. But that warranty on the latter product is usually only good for China, so unless you plan to parlay your Olympic ticket into a Chinese citizenship, you should either wait to return home to buy a product with a warranty for your home country or take your chances.
Your best bet for electronics in China is to look for the odd, weird, or unique gadgets that you can't find anywhere else or that are much cheaper in China than elsewhere. Also be sure that you purchase the correct voltage for gadgets that need to be recharged.
Mobile Phone Jammer
Is it annoying to hear people yelling on their mobile phones? Buy a Mobile Phone Jammer. This gadget might be illegal in your home country, so be aware of the legal implications before you purchase it (it might also be illegal to take this on an airplane). It can jam GSM, CDMA, and PHS signals in a zone of about 10 meters. Retail prices on the streets of Beijing: CNY280-400.
USB Storage Devices
USB flash disks have fallen in prices around the world, but you can get the best deals in China, where no-name brands offer a lot of bang for the yuan. Retail prices on the streets of Beijing for a generic brand one gigabyte USB keychain hover around CNY120-230, and some of them can also act as MP3 music players. Remember to always haggle over the price before you buy!
Are you looking for the real China? Want to know what it feels like to live in China? To get that real sensation, you need to give up a bit of your privacy — neighborhood committees staffed with retirees in Chinese cities know more about you than you do. To emulate that feeling when you get back home, setup a wireless audio/video receiver and camera to spy on all your neighbors. On the streets of Beijing, you can buy an entire system for CNY350-500.
Make Love, Not War
With China's "One Child Policy", getting condoms and prophylactics to law-abiding Chinese is a glorious undertaking in the Middle Kingdom. Sex shops are in abundance in Chinese cities, so don't leave China without venturing into one of these shops to look at the electronic gizmos that helped China become the most populous nation. Prices differ (size does matter), and we have not posted pictures so that you can instead stimulate your imagination. Zhongguoren Qilai!
Finally, there are some things not to buy in China. Don't buy pirated DVDs — most of the black marketeers have been driven into dark alleys, but they can still be found as easily as the X-rays might discover your illegal purchases when you return home. Don't buy bootleg software — they might come with backdoor viruses. And don't be tempted to buy bootleg music. The Olympics are a fantastic opportunity for foreigners to get their first view of China, so hopefully you can return home feeling good about your purchases and feeling great about the wonderful country you just visited.