So long as you can put up with your favourite brand names being occasionally misspelled, the Ya Show market near San Li Tun in Beijing is a haven of all things pirated. Whether it's a ‘Tommy Hilfiger’ jacket or a ‘Siny’ pair of speakers, this den of Chinese covert capitalism has it all.
I was there the other day on a crisp winter’s afternoon perusing my normal DVD joint. Having amassed a decent selection of the latest crop of Hollywood hits I strolled to the counter and for a second thought I was in Blockbuster Video. “You have club discount card?” the lady at the till asked me. A membership card for knock off DVDs?! Wonderful, and only in China.
Quick witted I fumbled through my pockets, turned to my accomplice, who was scanning a rack of DVDs in the corner, and with a sly grin I asked him if he’d remembered to bring his club discount card this time. He played along, rifling through his pockets, and said he’d forgotten it. We still got the 20% off, though.