The exterior of Guangzhou's Wanguo Outlet Mall. [Photo: q.chinasspp.com]
Much of Guangzhou's charm lies in the fact that it's a very Chinese city that's developing fast; but still far from being considered developed. For better or worse, its attempts at international standards and tastes are best captured in its shopping malls. Wanguo Outlet Mall is one of Guangzhou's shopping highlights; a massive building of 80,000 square meters, offering a slightly less hectic environment than most of Guangzhou's shopping spots.
For anyone tired of buying "discounted" goods that are fake, Wanguo has plenty of western brand name outlets selling genuine goods. The Sports and Trend area has the fullest brand selection, selling Columbia to New Balance as well as specialty sports stores like Yonex and Speedo.
Fashion-wise, Wanguo isn't exactly high end (or trendy), but it has enough to cover your basics. CK Jeans, Triumph lingerie and Clarks shoes are some of the more recognizable brands.
At least six international stores are dedicated to women's skin care for those interested.
But anybody expecting an outlet mall to offer rock bottom prices will be sorely disappointed. A pair of Adidas shoes at Wanguo Mall may be somewhat less expensive than they are at Adidas stores elsewhere in the city, but they'll still be more expensive than in western countries (or Hong Kong). In a nutshell, even though many western brand products are manufactured within the country's borders, in China they are perceived as "luxury items," justifying their higher price point.
The big box mart of Carrefour stands ready for anyone who wants to buy made-in-China stuff with slightly less inflated price tags.
Wanguo Outlet Mall may be one of the city's top malls, but unfortunately there's nothing particularly special about the place. It's just a mall.
Address: 40 Qianjin Rd, Haizhu, Guangzhou
Getting there: From Subway Line 2's Jiangnan West station, walk 10 minutes from Exit E.