Beijing's shopping scene was long a poor stepsister to those of cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong: Beijing's lack of a discernible downtown area always made it unattractive to foreign retailers. But sustained pre-Olympic development created glassy, brand-friendly megamalls, such as the Place, Shin Kong Plaza, and Seasons Place, plus trendy districts like the Village and Qianmen. Consequently, Beijing shopping, though more geographically dispersed, is almost on a par with shopping in Shanghai—and Beijing boasts better markets, plus some very creative novelty stores.
You'll be blown away by the industriousness of the knockoff machine in Beijing. There's standard-issue faux Coach and Louis Vuitton, but you'll also find Thomas Pink button-downs, fake Montblanc pens, Tom Ford sunglasses, and Miu Miu bags. The more interesting fakes are the ones you'll find in Beijing's antiques markets, from purposefully roughed-up fake Communist kitsch to reproductions of vintage tin robots. Be prepared to bargain ruthlessly, especially in the more tourist-heavy markets. Opening prices are often 10 or 20 times what you should actually end up paying.