Media Markt Shanghai

The extensive microwave selection at Shanghai's Media Markt

I have to admit, when I saw this store being prepared for opening, I just thought those silly Chinese people have misspelled “market” and nobody pointed out to them the missing “e”. Well, it turns out the joke was on me and Media Markt is a highly successful German electronics retailer that has expanded to China.

I paid a visit yesterday and have to say, I was blown away. The place is huge. 5 floors in total occupying what I think used to be Isetan department store on Huaihai road.

If you’ve ever tried buying electronics from a local electronics chain, you will know that all the prices are marked up and then you have to negotiate your way down to the right price. This can be extremely tiresome. You’re also never sure if you’re getting a brand new item or if it has been refurbished.

Media Markt adopts a similar approach to Best Buy. Everything is new and genuine and most importantly, prices are fixed. They may not be the cheapest but they are fair. And you know your complaints will not fall on death ears if you find a problem with your purchase later on.

The range of products is overwhelming too. They have not just the mass market brands but also more specialised brand names too. So if you’re after some Sony headphones, you’ll find them here, but they also have Beats by Dr Dre headphones among others.

I actually needed some cables and they had the full price range from crappy 20 RMB HDMI cables to state of the art, gold plated cables for over 1000 RMB. In other words, something for everyone. (They even sell Nespresso machines).

I ended up getting quite a few bits and pieces including a two handset cordless phone set for home for the ridiculously low price of 378 RMB. I’d previously been using an old phone from the 1990s with a big rubber antenna similar to the one Monica has in Friends. It actually works fine but I wanted an extra handset for the bedroom.

The only thing on my list I didn’t get was the microwave oven as I couldn’t be bothered to carry it. I think I’ll just Taobao it and have it delivered. I seem to have fallen behind in my microwave oven knowledge. All microwaves no longer have revolving platters inside. I thought this was necessary for food to cook evenly but I guess they’ve figured a way to do that without the food moving round.

And finally, I have to mention the cafe on the 5th floor. Quite a few people I know have been to Media Markt but missed the cafe. It’s spotlessly clean and reasonably priced. A diavola pizza costs around 28 RMB as does the bacon and mushroom penne I had along with a rather tasty sausage roll. You can enjoy all this while looking at the stunning views overlooking Huaihai road and taking advantage of their free wifi.

So all in all, a very welcome addition to Shanghai’s electronics retail scene. I’m genuinely concerned for the more local retailers who I think are going to start losing business as more and more Chinese consumers discover this new business model. They’ll either have to change or go out of business. I certainly won’t be mourning their demise.

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19 Responses to Media Markt Shanghai

  1. Michael says:

    I have never bought electronics from any of the China chain stores due to their (what I consider) over-pricing. I’d say the same thing about the U.K. chains as well. I just stick to buying my things online for reasonable prices, and despite many of my friends here being quite cautious against online shopping (mostly for more expensive things) I’ve never run into any problems here.

    Also, I think the phrase is “fall on deaf ears”…

  2. WoAi says:

    @Michael – Thanks for the correction, that’s what happens when I blog and watch a DVD at the same time!

    Yes, I’m a HUGE online shopping advocate so I’m with you on that. But sometimes it’s nice to walk around a bricks and mortar store like I did yesterday. It gets me out of the house!

  3. Rich says:

    Sounds like a welcome addition to the high St. Shouldn’t be difficult to win business based on customer service by the sound of things.

  4. Kim C says:

    Isn’t Media Markt awesome? I went a couple of weeks ago and was completely overwhelmed by the choice, especially in rice cookers and coffee machines. I never knew there was such a wide variety.

    I can see them being very successful here. It was so nice to look at everything all in the one store and not have to feel on guard for dodgy goods or pricing. Missed the cafe, will have to check that out next time.

    I did love the live guitar playing area on the 5th floor. Some Chinese guy was there jamming and he was incredible, truly talented. H had drawn quite a crowd.

  5. KingBadger says:

    I had no idea that microwaves cooked food.

  6. Stimpy says:

    Not sure about your last point. The local retailers have been here for such a long time and they are so well known. Also, while fixed pricing works for us laowai (because that is what we are used to), I am sure that it will put off many locals. They might know that the original price is too high, but when they haggle it down, they have the illusion at least that they are getting a good deal.

  7. T. says:

    Never ever ever buy the “gold plated” super expensive cables.

  8. Dingle says:

    A few years ago I bought my my big tv from Best Buy, I could have got it considerably cheaper elsewhere but Best Buy people speak English, even the guys that came to install it, that was worth a lot (I was single at the time)

  9. WoAi says:

    @Rich – Yes, good customer service is definitely a game winner.

    @Kim C – Yes, there were some country bumpkins banging on the drums when I was there. They shouldn’t let people play on them unless they’re awesome!

    @KingBadger – Well, you’re quite right, it’s not cooking the food it’s merely raising the temperature of the food. Sorry for the over statement!

    @Stimpy – Yes, I am of course looking at this through western eyes. However, I am convinced that most Chinese will in time prefer this way of buying, if only for the reassurance that the goods are genuine. We all know Chinese love to buy LV and Gucci bags in Europe because it’s cheaper, but one of the other reasons is that they are sure it’s not fake. A local friend of mine was raving about Best Buy. She got every appliance in one go for her new apartment and loved the service and prices.

    @Dingle – A yes, the good old foreigner / laowai tax.

  10. WoAi says:

    @T – Oops sorry missed your one liner there. Don’t worry, I’m not about to spend 1000 RMB on a wire cable!

  11. great review!!!
    So happy that you are blogging more often nowadays :-)

    Instead I am the one lacking in blog inspiration :-(

  12. Dingle says:

    you have a blog shopgirl?

  13. WoAi says:

    @Shopgirl – Thanks. Well it helps if you’re in Shanghai then you’d have lots to blog about. Much harder when you’re blogging from Sweden.

  14. KingBadger says:

    @Shopgirl – get a real camera and photograph hot Swedish chicks. I’ll be a loyal follower.

  15. WoAi says:

    @KingBadger – And so will I!

  16. I go there every two or three days just to walk around. They used to do awesome sandwich + drink for 15rmb at lunch times, but I think this might have been cancelled now because I ate too many.

    The only downside to sitting in the cafĂ© is that it’s next to the 3DTV test section, so from time to time you may be startled by an epic sound effect at 5x normal listening volume…otherwise, perfect!

  17. WoAi says:

    @Oli – Thanks for keeping the sandwich deal a secret from us till it was withdrawn! I’ll be sure to look out for you on my next visit.

  18. Stimpy says:

    Best Buy shuts China stores:

    That’s one up for the Chinese brands you worried about in this post.

  19. WoAi says:

    @Stimpy – Yes, indeed. They’re focusing on their local brand, Five Star, which they bought about 5 years ago. I wonder how Media Markt will do in what appears to be a similar situation, although I never had the pleasure of visiting a Best Buy.

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