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.